C.W. et al v. Lindsey
OPINION. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 4/15/14. (scn, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, EASTERN DIVISION
C. W., a minor, who sues by )
and through Mary Amanda
Weed, her mother and next )
friend; and MARY AMANDA
CIVIL ACTION NO.
This is a dog-bite case. Plaintiff Mary Amanda Weed,
on behalf of herself and her 11-year-old daughter, has
sued defendant Christy Lindsay.
The jurisdiction of the
court has been invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332
(diversity of citizenship).
This matter is before the
court on the parties' motion to approve their settlement
to the extent it is between Weed's daughter and Lindsay.
The motion will be granted.
During an Easter Egg Hunt in 2012 at her parents
home, Weed’s daughter C.W. was bitten on the face by a
dog owned by Lindsay.
C.W. and her mother then brought
Lindsay’s negligence and wantonness, namely that Lindsay
had notice of dangerous propensities in the dog and that
she did not exercise reasonable care to prevent the dog
from biting someone.
Lindsay denies that she had notice
negligently or wantonly in any way.
The parties later
notified the court of a settlement of C.W.’s and her
mother’s claims against Lindsay, and the court appointed
Karen Laneaux to be guardian ad litem for C.W.
Alabama law requires that a court hold a fairness
hearing before a minor plaintiff’s case may be settled.
Largo v. Hayes By and Through Nesbitt, 534 So.2d 1101,
1105 (Ala. 1988). This is a rule of substantive law,
Burke v. Smith, 252 F.3d 1260, 1266 (11th
In order for the settlement to be binding on
the minor, the hearing must involve “‘examination or
investigation into the facts.’” Abernathy v. Colbert
Cnty. Hosp. Bd., 388 So. 2d 1207, 1209 (Ala. 1980)
42 Am.Jur.2d Infants § 47 (1978)).
fairness hearing to determine whether to approve the
attendance were C.W.’s guardian ad litem, C.W. and Weed’s
counsel, and Lindsay’s counsel.
The court has reviewed
parties, and is sufficiently familiar with the background
surrounding this action, including the nature of the
claims of liability and the various defenses raised by
amount of damages, so as to create substantial issues as
to whether C.W. and her mother are entitled to recover
against Lindsay for the dog bite.
The court also credits
testimony from Weed that she believed the settlement is
fair and in C.W.’s best interests.
The guardian ad litem
has further represented that the settlement is fair and
in C.W.’s best interests.
Based on the above evidence and representations, the
provisions of this settlement are understood and agreed
to by Weed and Lindsay, that they are fair, just, and
reasonable under the circumstances involved in this case,
and that they are in the best interests of C.W.
court will grant the parties’ motion to approve the
settlement to the extent it is between C.W. and Lindsay.
An appropriate judgment will be entered.
DONE, this the 15th day of April, 2014.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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