Smith v. Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 6521 (4th Cir. 1999)

Lead counsel for Columbia in a case alleging race discrimination and racial harassment in the workplace. After successful mediation efforts, a settlement agreement was drafted between the parties. The plaintiff thereafter alleged that he had not agreed to the terms of the agreement, and fired his counsel after he took a contradictory position on the issue. Testimony was elicited at a hearing from Columbia’s in-house counsel and the plaintiff's original trial counsel, each of whom testified that the written agreement comported with a verbal agreement reached between the parties. The district court held, therefore, that the agreement accurately reflected the settlement terms, and that the plaintiff had authorized his original counsel to reach agreement on each term. Enforcement of the agreement was ordered, and was affirmed on appeal by the Fourth Circuit.