In a case concerning a loan default, Judge Carter agreed today to vacate a prior ruling finding that the borrower (the National Bank of Liberia) had waived sovereign immunity. Judge Carter agreed with the parties that doing so would help foster a settlement of the matter:
[T]he parties seek the Court’s assistance in facilitating settlement, by allowing the parties to return to the status quo ante in case settlement fails. There is a strong public policy in this Circuit in favor of the settlement of disputes . . .
Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b), district courts are “empowered to revisit and vacate … any nonfinal order’ at any time before the entry of a judgment . . . where it benefits the parties but does not run counter to any public interest.” . . .
Here, . . . [t]he fact that both parties jointly moved for vacatur indicates that there is something mutually beneficial in settlement for both sides.
As for the public interest, district court decisions are not treated as binding precedents, but instead serve as persuasive authority. Accordingly, there is less of a concern about the development of decisional law when it comes to district court opinions. The vacated [opinion] will continue to have influence, even if vacated.