The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Christina A. Snyder
Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER
Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants
Proceedings: (In Chambers:) PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT WITH DEFENDANT (filed January 22, 2013) [Dkt. No. 34]
On October 26, 2011, plaintiffs Terry Taylor (in his individual capacity and as the Special Administrator of the Estate of Mary Beth Taylor, deceased), Shelby N Taylor, and his minor children Mattie R Taylor,, Kaitlyn R Taylor, Emily M Taylor, filed suit against defendant Kelly Moore Paint Co. ("Kelly-Moore"). Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiffs allege personal injury and wrongful death resulting from Mary Beth Taylor's exposure to defendant's asbestos-containing products.
The parties eventually reached a settlement in the amount of $75,000, made payable to the estate of Mary Beth Taylor. On January 22, 2013, plaintiffs filed the instant motion for approval of the settlement. Dkt. No. 34. To date, no objections have been filed.
To determine whether a proposed settlement should be approved, a court must consider: whether the net amount distributed to each minor plaintiff in the settlement is fair and reasonable, in light of the facts of the case, the minor's specific claim, and recovery in similar cases. Most importantly, the district court should evaluate the fairness of each minor plaintiff's net recovery without regard to the proportion of the total settlement value designated for adult co-plaintiffs or plaintiffs' counsel, whose interests the district court has no special duty to safeguard. So long as the net recovery to each minor plaintiff is fair and reasonable in light of their claims and average recovery in similar cases, the district court should approve the settlement as proposed by the parties. Robidoux v. Rosengren, 638 F.3d 1177, 1182 (9th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted). "[T]he district court's special duty to protect minor plaintiffs requires only that the district court consider whether the net recovery of each minor plaintiff is fair and reasonable, without regard to the amount received by adult co-plaintiffs and what they have agreed to pay plaintiffs' counsel." Id.
After reviewing the proposed settlement and distribution of the settlement funds, the Court finds that the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable for the minor plaintiffs involved in this litigation, based on the facts of the case, the alleged claims, and the discoverable evidence. Moreover, all of the minor plaintiffs have shared equally in the proceeds of the settlement, as evidenced by the monies deposited into their respective bank accounts. See Decl. of Terry Taylor, Ex. A ¶¶ 8--10. Each minor plaintiffs' share of the settlement funds is in accord with the distribution previously approved by the Nebraska Probate Court, and appears to be fair and reasonable under all of the circumstances.
In accordance with the foregoing, the Court GRANTS plaintiff's request for approval of the settlement.