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De La Cruz v. United States Postal Service

January 19, 2010

CHRISTINA DE LA CRUZ, AN INDIVIDUAL; ISABEL DE LA CRUZ, AN INDIVIDUAL; AMY MICHELLE TARAZON, BY AND THROUGH HER GUARDIAN AD LITEM, RICK TARAZON; JACOB PAUL DE LA CRUZ, BY THROUGH HIS GUARDIAN AD LITEM, ALFRED DE LA CRUZ, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE; DAVINDER KAUR BADYAL, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND DOES 1 TO 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMEN DATIONS and REGARDING REQUEST FOR APPROVAL OF MINOR'S COMPROMISE (Document 46) AND RELATED CROSS ACTION.

Petitioners Alfred De La Cruz and Rick Tarazon filed the instant petition for an order approving compromise of the claim of Plaintiffs Jacob Paul De La Cruz and Amy Michelle Tarazon. The petition was heard on January 19, 2010, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Fabio Cabezas appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs Jacob Paul De La Cruz and Amy Michelle Tarazon, who were present with Petitioners Alfred De La Cruz and Rick Tarazon. Alyson A. Berg, Assistant United States Attorney, appeared on behalf of Defendant and Counterclaimant United States of America.

BACKGROUND

There are two minors involved in this action. The first minor, Jacob Paul De La Cruz, is a male born October 4, 2001, and is approximately 8 years old. Petitioner Alfred De La Cruz is the appointed guardian ad litem of Jacob Paul De La Cruz. The second minor, Amy Michelle Tarazon, is a female born February 1, 2001, and is approximately 8 years old. Petitioner Rick Tarazon is the appointed guardian ad litem of Amy Michelle Tarazon.

The action arises out of motor vehicle accident on June 1, 2006, in Selma, California. According to the complaint, Plaintiff Christina De La Cruz was driving a 1983 Toyota Camry. Plaintiffs Isabel De La Cruz, Jacob Paul De La Cruz and Amy Michelle Tarazon were passengers in the Toyota Camry. Defendant Davinder Badyal, a letter carrier employed by Defendant United States Postal Service, was driving a 1986 Nissan Pickup while delivering mail. Plaintiffs and Defendant Badyal were driving in opposite directions and Defendant Badyal allegedly turned directly in front of Plaintiffs' Toyota Camry. Plaintiff Christina De La Cruz was unable to stop and collided with the pickup driven by Defendant Badyal.

Plaintiff Isabel De La Cruz reportedly suffered injuries, including a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a spinal fracture, a pulmonary embolism, lacerations and bruises. She also developed a lump in her chest, which was identified as a foreign object, that had to be removed. She incurred medical bills totaling $134,309.21.

Plaintiff Christina De La Cruz reportedly suffered contusions to the head and chest. She incurred medical bills totaling $11,613.72, and lost income totaling $418.00. She has made a full recovery.

Plaintiff Jacob Paul De La Cruz reportedly suffered loss of consciousness, laceration to the mouth and contusions to the abdomen, chest and chin. He also had stitches in the interior of his mouth. He incurred medical bills totaling $11,501.58. He has made a full and complete recovery.

Plaintiff Amy Michelle Tarazon reportedly suffered contusions to the head and chest and swelling of the forehead and nose. She incurred medical bills totaling $15,797.44. She has made a full and complete recovery.

The parties to this action reached a settlement. (Doc. 45; Notice of Settlement). Defendant United States Postal Service offered the total sum of $10,000, with $5,000.00 of the settlement proceeds to go to each minor.

Petitioner Alfred De La Cruz seeks approval for payment out of the settlement proceeds to Jacob De La Cruz as follows: (1) the sum of $3,750.00 be paid to Plaintiff Jacob Paul De La Cruz; and (2) the sum of $1,250.00 (25% of $5,000.00) be paid to The Law Offices of Federico C. Sayre for attorney's fees. Petitioner proposes that the balance of the settlement proceeds payable to Jacob Paul De La Cruz be distributed to Petitioner, the guardian ad litem, to be held in trust until Jacob Paul De La Cruz reaches the age of majority. In the alternative, Petitioner requests that the funds be deposited at the Educational Employee's Credit Union located at 1729 East Manning Avenue, Reedley, California 93654.

Petitioner Rick Tarazon seeks approval for payment of the settlement proceeds to Amy Michelle Tarazon as follows: (1) the sum of $3,750.00 be paid to Plaintiff Amy Michelle Tarazon; and (2) the sum of $1,250.00 (25% of $5,000.00) be paid to The Law Offices of Federico C. Sayre for attorney's fees. Petitioner proposes that the balance of the settlement proceeds payable to Amy Michelle Tarazon be distributed to Petitioner, the guardian ad litem, to be held in trust until Amy Michelle Tarazon reaches the age of majority. In the alternative, Petitioner requests that the funds be deposited at the Educational Employee's Credit Union located at 455 East Barstow, Fresno, California 93710.

DISCUSSION

This Court's Local Rule 17-202 addresses settlements for minors and ...


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