United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING APPROVING
PLAINTIFF A.M.'S MINOR'S COMPROMISE OBJECTIONS DUE
WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS (ECF NOS. 47 & 50) OBJECTIONS DUE
WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS
before the Court are a petition for minor's compromise by
Plaintiff A.M., by and through his guardian ad litem Rachel
Curtice (“Plaintiff A.M.”), and an amended
petition for minor's compromise. (ECF Nos. 47, 50.) The
matter was referred to the undersigned for issuance of
findings and recommendations pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302. A hearing on the motion was
set for April 11, 2018. The Court, having reviewed the
record, finds this matter suitable for decision without oral
argument. See Local Rule 230(g).Accordingly, the
previously scheduled hearing set for April 11, 2018, will be
vacated and the parties will not be required to appear at
early morning hours of August 7, 2015, Fresno Police
Department Officer Clayton Smith responded to a call to
investigate a man brandishing a firearm. When Officer Smith
arrived, he attempted to arrest decedent Aaron Allen Marchese
(“decedent”). Decedent turned away and pulled up
his shirt. Officer Smith shot decedent twice.
September 9, 2016, this action was filed by Plaintiff
Roseanne Garcia (“Plaintiff Garcia”). (ECF No.
1.) On September 27, 2016, Plaintiffs A.M. and Garcia
(collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed a first amended
complaint. (ECF No. 11.) On September 27, 2016, Plaintiff
A.M. filed a motion to appoint a guardian ad litem, his
mother, Ms. Curtice. (ECF No. 12.) On September 29, 2016, Ms.
Curtice was appointed guardian ad litem for Plaintiff A.M.
(ECF No. 14.)
November 11, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a second amended
complaint. (ECF No. 17.) Plaintiff A.M., as an individual and
successor in interest to decedent, brought claims for
unreasonable detention and arrest, excessive force and denial
of medical care, Monell liability, battery,
negligence, false arrest or imprisonment, and violation of
the Bane Act. Plaintiff Garcia brought a separate claim for
interference with familial relationship.
January 29, 2018, Plaintiff A.M. and Defendants filed a
stipulation dismissing Plaintiff A.M.'s claims with
prejudice. (ECF No. 45.) However, as Plaintiff A.M. had not
filed a motion or approval of a proposed settlement or
compromise, the Court ordered Plaintiff A.M. to file a motion
for approval of a proposed settlement or compromise. (ECF No.
March 5, 2018, Plaintiff A.M. filed a petition for
minor's compromise. (ECF No. 47.) On March 30, 2018,
Plaintiff A.M. filed an amended petition for minor's
compromise. (ECF No. 50.)
Rule 202(b) states that “[n]o claim by or against a
minor or incompetent person may be settled or compromised
absent an order by the Court approving the settlement or
compromise.” Any application for approval of a proposed
settlement or compromise must disclose, among other things,
the age and sex of the minor or incompetent, 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....
Local Rule 202(b)(2).
courts have a special duty, derived from Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 17(c), to safeguard the interests of
litigants who are minors.” Robidoux v.
Rosengren, 638 F.3d 1177, 1181 (9th Cir. 2011).
“In the context of proposed settlements in suits
involving minor plaintiffs, this special duty requires a
district court to ‘conduct its own inquiry to determine
whether the settlement serves the best interests of the
minor.' ” Id. However, in
Robidoux, the Ninth Circuit cautioned that this
inquiry “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. at 1182 (holding
that district court erred in denying settlement based solely
on the proportion of the settlement going to plaintiffs'
petition for minor's compromise sets forth the required
information. Plaintiff A.M. is 13 years of age. The
minor's claims are based on the death of his father, the
decedent, on August 7, 2015, when he was shot and killed by
Defendant Smith. The injuries sustained by Plaintiff A.M. ...