Doe et al v. Gill et al

Filing 59

ORDER DIRECTING PETITIONER TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE. Signed by Judge Claudia Wilken on 5/23/2012. (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/23/2012)

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1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 5 JANE DOE, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem, WILFRED SCOTT; 6 7 8 9 Plaintiff, United States District Court For the Northern District of California 12 RYAN GILL; ANTHONY MORGAN; and CITY OF SAN LEANDRO, Defendants. ________________________________/ JUDY BROWN; and IMAREE CROSS; No. C 11-5009 CW Plaintiffs, 13 14 ORDER DIRECTING PETITIONER TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE v. 10 11 No. C 11-4759 CW v. 15 RYAN GILL; ANTHONY MORGAN; and CITY OF SAN LEANDRO, 16 Defendants. 17 ________________________________/ 18 ERICKA WHITMEYER 19 20 21 22 23 24 No. C 11-5083 CW Plaintiff, v. RYAN GILL; ANTHONY MORGAN; and CITY OF SAN LEANDRO, Defendants. ________________________________/ Petitioner Wilfred Scott, as guardian ad litem for Plaintiff 25 Jane Doe, a minor, requests approval of a compromise of Doe’s 26 claims against Defendants Ryan Gill, Anthony Morgan and the City 27 of San Leandro. 28 1 Through her guardian ad litem, Scott, Doe initiated this 2 lawsuit on September 23, 2011. 3 that, on December 29, 2010, her mother, Gwendolyn Killings, was 4 shot and killed by Defendants Gill and Morgan, police officers 5 employed by Defendant City of San Leandro. 6 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth 7 Amendment and a survival action against Defendants Gill and 8 Morgan, claims against Defendant City of San Leandro for failure 9 to train and supervise properly, and claims against all Defendants United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 In the complaint, Doe alleges Doe brought claims for wrongful death. On January 18, 2012, the Court consolidated Doe’s action with 12 the two higher-numbered actions captioned above. 13 in the other actions are also survivors and heirs of Gwendolyn 14 Killings. 15 The plaintiffs Scott filed the instant petition for approval of a minor’s 16 compromise on May 3, 2012. 17 City of San Leandro, on behalf of all Defendants, has agreed to 18 pay a total of $50,000 to the four Plaintiffs to settle their 19 claims, and that Plaintiffs have agreed to divide this amount 20 equally, so that each will receive $12,500. 21 forty percent of Doe’s recovery, or $5,000, will be paid to her 22 attorneys as fees, along with an additional $311.15 as costs for 23 deposition transcripts and chart reproduction. 24 recovery under the settlement would be $7,188.85. 25 In his papers, he represents that the He also states that Thus, Doe’s net As the Ninth Circuit recently stated, “District courts have a 26 special duty, derived from Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(c), 27 to safeguard the interests of litigants who are minors.” 28 v. Rosengren, 638 F.3d 1177, 1181 (9th Cir. 2011). 2 Robidoux “In the 1 context of proposed settlements in suits involving minor 2 plaintiffs, this special duty requires a district court to 3 ‘conduct its own inquiry to determine whether the settlement 4 serves the best interests of the minor.’” 5 Mendoza, 573 F.2d 1075, 1080 (9th Cir. 1978)). 6 Id. (quoting Dacanay v. The Ninth Circuit has directed that, in conducting this 7 inquiry in cases involving the settlement of a minor’s federal 8 claims, district courts should “limit the scope of their review to 9 the question whether the net amount distributed to each minor United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 plaintiff in the settlement is fair and reasonable, in light of 11 the facts of the case, the minor’s specific claim, and recovery in 12 similar cases,” and should “evaluate the fairness of each minor 13 plaintiff’s net recovery without regard to the proportion of the 14 total settlement value designated for adult co-plaintiffs or 15 plaintiffs’ counsel — whose interests the district court has no 16 special duty to safeguard.” 17 F.2d at 1078). 18 Id. at 1181-82 (citing Dacanay, 573 The Court notes that the percentage of Doe’s total recovery 19 to be paid to her counsel appears high. 20 Morgan Hill Unified Sch. Dist., 2011 WL 5313965, at *2 (N.D. Cal.) 21 (remarking, in assessing the settlement of a minor’s claims, that 22 “a 40% contingency fee strikes the Court as a bit high”). 23 Court also notes that, as a minor, Doe might have a greater need, 24 and may have suffered greater damages, than the other Plaintiffs. 25 See, e.g., Botello v. The On the current record, the Court is unable to assess properly 26 the fairness of Doe’s net recovery. 27 days of the date of this Order, Petitioner shall provide evidence 28 that Doe’s net recovery under the settlement is fair and 3 Accordingly, within seven 1 reasonable in light of the strength of her claims, the facts of 2 the case and recovery in other similar cases. 3 4 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 5/23/2012 CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge 6 7 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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