I read on the W.D. Va. website the new local rule regarding alternative dispute resolution, promulgated pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 651.
And, one thing I noticed was where it says this:
"G. Enforceability. The Court will not assist in the enforcement of any agreement, settlement, or fee arrangement from any alternative dispute resolution process which is not annexed by the Court. In all other situations, the parties may invoke any of the Court's traditional enforcement mechanisms."
So, what does it mean to have an "alternative dispute resolution process" "annexed by the Court?" I'm not sure that the answer is obvious, although there are plenty of references to "court-annexed mediation" online. It sounds like the conservative course is to either use the magistrate judge, or get a formal order referring the case to an outside mediator, and then perhaps have the settlement referenced in some manner in connection with whatever papers are filed requesting dismissal.
The next time I get a chance, I may inquire of someone who can set me straight.
UPDATE: Evidently, this has been part of Judge Conrad's standing order on ADR for years. I knew it came from somewhere. Maybe the same language is in local rules everywhere, but it is new to me.