United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
DEAN A. HINRICHS, Plaintiff,
ROBERTS TRADING COMPANY, L.P., BRUCE ROBERTS, et al., Defendants.
Hinrichs, Plaintiff, represented by Andrew B. Protzman,
Protzman Law Firm, LLC, Benjamin C. Fields, Stucky & Fields,
LLC, Christopher J. Stucky, Stucky & Fields LLC & Christopher
Michael Sorenson, Protzman Law Firm.
Roberts Trading Company, L.P., Defendant, represented by
Christopher M. McHugh, Seigfreid Bingham, P.C., Luke
Hertenstein, Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper, & Hofer, PC,
William Clayton Crawford, Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper,
& Hofer, PC & Benjamin A. Reed, Seigfreid Bingham, P.C..
Roberts, Defendant, represented by Benjamin A. Reed,
Seigfreid Bingham, P.C., Christopher M. McHugh, Seigfreid
Bingham, P.C. & Christopher C. Tillery, Seigfreid Bingham,
Barbara A Roberts-Poole Revocable Trust, Defendant,
represented by William Clayton Crawford, Foland, Wickens,
Eisfelder, Roper, & Hofer, PC & Luke Hertenstein, Foland,
Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper, & Hofer, PC.
Barbara A Roberts-Poole, Defendant, represented by William
Clayton Crawford, Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper, & Hofer,
PC & Luke Hertenstein, Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper, &
ORDER REGARDING APPROVAL OF WRONGFUL DEATH
KAYS, Chief District Judge.
case arises out of the death of Dale A. Hinrichs
("Decedent"), who fell from a twenty-foot rock wall
near 8th Street and Grand Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri,
and suffered a severe head trauma. Defendants own the
property on which the wall is located. Plaintiff is
Decedent's surviving twin brother who seeks to settle the
wrongful death claim and who has reached an agreement with
the only surviving sibling, Norman Hinrichs, to divide the
settlement between them.
before the Court are Plaintiff's Amended Petition for
Approval of Wrongful Death Settlement (Doc. 40) and
Plaintiff's Supplement to Petition (Doc. 42) filed after
the Court directed him to provide additional information.
After reviewing the additional filing, the Court grants the
Missouri law, a wrongful death settlement requires court
approval. See Mo. Rev. Stat. Â§ 537.095.1. To obtain
approval, a plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1) he or she
diligently attempted to notify all spouses, children, and
parents of the decedent, and if none of those relatives
survive, then the siblings of the decedent, id.;
id. Â§ 537.080.1; (2) the amount of settlement is
fair and reasonable, see id. Â§ 537.095.3; and (3)
the attorneys' fees are paid in accordance with the
Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct, see id. Â§
537.095.4(2); see, e.g., Eng v. Cummings,
McClorey, Davis & Acho, PLC, 611 F.3d 428, 435 (8th Cir.
Court holds Plaintiff has demonstrated that the settlement
complies with the law's requirements. First, Plaintiff
has satisfied the notice requirements. Plaintiff and his
brother are the only individuals entitled to recover because
they are the only known spouses, children, parents, or
siblings of the decedents, and they have been given notice.
the Court finds the gross settlement amount of $50, 000.00 to
be fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death
claim. Further, the fifty-fifty split between the brothers of
the approximately $30, 000 in net proceeds is fair and
the settlement agreement provides for a reasonable amount of
attorneys' fees and litigation expenses. See Mo.
R. Prof. Conduct 4-1.5(a). Although a contingency fee of
forty percent is arguably high for a case settled so
quickly and for a modest amount, just from
reading the complaint it appears this case may have been so
risky and the value of the claim so modest that the attorneys
may not have been to afford to undertake the representation
for less than forty percent. Further, the litigation expenses
of approximately $2, 000 appear reasonable.
the Court ...