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MAP v. City of Bakersfield

January 23, 2009

MAP, A MINOR, BY AND THROUGH HIS GUARDIAN AD LITEM, MARIA ISABEL PEREZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF BAKERSFIELD; BAKERSFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT; JASON MATSON; AND DOES 1 TO 100, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING PETITION FOR ORDER APPROVING COMPROMISE OF THE CLAIM OF PLAINTIFF, MAP, A MINOR

(Document 34)

Petitioner Maria Isabel Perez filed the instant petition for an order approving compromise of the claim of Plaintiff MAP on December 11, 2008. The petition was heard on January 16, 2009, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Charles Chapman appeared on behalf of Plaintiff MAP, who was present with petitioner Maria Isabel Perez, his guardian ad litem. There was no appearance for Defendants.

BACKGROUND

The minor, MAP, is a male born December 13, 1993, and is approximately fifteen years of age. Petitioner Maria Isabel Perez is the mother and guardian ad litem of MAP. This action arises out of an incident on December 17, 2007, in which Bakersfield Police Department officers went to MAP's residence in search of a criminal suspect. Officers ordered Maria Isabel Perez and two of her sons, David Perez and Juan Antonio Perez, out of their home. Maria Isabel Perez, David Perez, and Juan Antonio Perez complied with the order. Officers then asked Maria Isabel Perez to tie up her dogs. She did. Maria Isabel Perez' third son, Juan Carlos Perez, appeared at the door of the home. Officers ordered Juan Carlos Perez out of the home. He complied. Officers then asked Maria Isabel Perez if there was anyone else in the house. Ms. Perez contends that she told officers that her fourteen-year-old son MAP was asleep in the home. Defendants dispute this contention. Officers entered the home, released a police attack dog and ordered it to attack anyone in the home. The police dog found MAP in his bed and bit him on the head. MAP suffered physical and emotional injuries.

This action was filed on April 21, 2008. MAP alleges causes of action for : (1) violation of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983; (2) violation of California Bane Act, California Civil Code section 52.1; (3) assault and battery; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (5) negligence.

The parties to this action participated in voluntary mediation before Oliver U. Robinson, Esq., on December 3, 2008. At mediation, Defendants offered $95,000.00 in consideration of a full and final release and discharge of and from all claims, charges, and demands of MAP arising from the incident.

Petitioner seeks approval for payment out of the settlement proceeds as follows: (1) the sum of $12,629.51 be paid to MAP's medical providers for the reasonable value of their services; and (2) the sum of $25,377.78 (25% of $95,000 plus costs of $1,627.78) payable to Rodriguez and Associates for attorneys fees, costs and reasonable expenses. Petitioner proposes that the remaining balance of the settlement proceeds of $56,992.71 be deposited into an insured account subject to withdrawal only upon authorization of the Court until said time as MAP reaches the age of majority.

DISCUSSION

This Court's Local Rule 17-202 addresses settlements for minors and provides in pertinent part:

(b) Settlement. No claim by . . . a minor . . . may be settled or compromised absent court order by the Court in approving the settlement or compromise.

. . . (2) Such application [for minor's compromise] shall disclose, among other things, the age and sex of the minor . . . , the nature of the causes of action to be settled or compromised, the facts and circumstances out of which the causes of action arose, including the time, place and persons involved, the manner in which the compromise amount or other consideration was determined, including such additional information as may be required to enable the Court to determine the fairness of the settlement or compromise . . . .

(c) Disclosure of Attorney's Interest. When the minor . . . is represented by an attorney, it shall be disclosed to the Court by whom and the terms under which the attorney was employed . . . and whether the attorney has received or expects to receive any compensation, from whom, and the amount.

. . . (e) Payment of Judgment. Whenever money . . . is recovered on behalf of a minor . . . the money . . . will be (1) disbursed to the representative pursuant to state law upon a showing that the representative is duly qualified under state law, (2) disbursed otherwise pursuant to state law, or (3) disbursed pursuant to ...


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