Johnston v. U-Haul International, Inc. et al
OPINION. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 6/11/13. (scn, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, EASTERN DIVISION
Individually and as Next
Friend and Legal Guardian
of H.M.W., a minor child,
U-HAUL INTERNATIONAL, INC., )
a Corporation, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
On May 30, 2013, this lawsuit came before the court
for a hearing on a motion for compromise of claims,
consideration and approval of the full and final
settlement of the claims of plaintiff Tammy Johnston on
behalf of the minor H.M.W. against defendants U-Haul
Katherine Miller (as administrator of the estate of Irene
approval is necessary because the settlement involves
H.M.W., a minor child.
Pursuant to the court’s order,
H.M.W.’s interests are represented by guardian ad litem
Karen Mastin Laneaux.
Based on the filings and the
approve the settlement.
According to the allegations in the complaint, on January
21, 2011, then 10-year-old H.M.W. was a passenger in a
car with her grandparents and a cousin when the car was
struck by a vehicle with an attached U-Haul trailer.
H.M.W. and her cousin were pulled from the car but the
grandparents perished in the wreckage.
that the vehicle that struck her lost control due in part
to it having a U-Haul trailer attached that was too large
for the type of car and that trailer being excessively
physical and mental injuries.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, H.M.W
will receive $ 371,250 from U-Haul and Sovran, $ 375,000
from CJR, and $ 22,000 from the estate of Miller.
gross recovery will be, in total, $ 768,250.
after costs and attorney’s fees (at a rate of 40 % after
costs) are deducted, H.M.W. will be left with a recovery
of $ 447,088.97.
The court has reviewed the filings in this case and
is familiar with the background of this lawsuit.
liability, the injuries sustained by H.M.W., and the cost
of H.M.W.’s medical care.
The court concludes that the
liability of the defendants is in dispute, as is the
extent of the damages from the accident.
The court also
heard testimony from H.M.W.’s grandmother (Johnston),
H.M.W.’s mother, and the guardian ad litem, all of whom
stated that they believe the settlement is in H.M.W.’s
The court is satisfied that the terms and provisions
of this settlement are understood and agreed to by all
Based on the record and testimony, as set forth
above, the court finds that all the terms and provisions
of the proposed settlement are in the best interests of
the minor child H.M.W. and are fair, just, and reasonable
under the circumstances of this case.
court will approve the proposed settlement agreement.
An appropriate judgment will be entered granting the
pending motion for compromise of claims and approving and
adopting the proposed settlement as to H.M.W.
DONE, this the 11th day of June, 2013.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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