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Lewis v. Blue Springs School District

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

March 1, 2018

REBECCA LEWIS, Individually, and as Ad Litem on behalf of Decedent, and Decedent's wrongful death beneficiaries, Plaintiff,
v.
BLUE SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          NANETTE K. LAUGHREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.095, Plaintiff, Rebecca Lewis, and Defendant Blue Springs School District have asked the Court to approve their Confidential Wrongful Death Settlement Agreement. For the following reasons, the settlement is approved.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, Rebecca Lewis, is the surviving mother of decedent, Ryker Lewis, who died at age 15. Ryker did not have any children or a spouse. His father, Will Lewis, who was and still is married to Plaintiff Rebecca Lewis, also survived decedent Ryker Lewis. Plaintiff, Rebecca Lewis, filed suit under Missouri's wrongful death statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.080, alleging wrongful death, as well as other claims against Defendant Blue Springs School District, which are set forth in the Petition. The suit stems from Ryker Lewis' death, which occurred when he completed the act of suicide on or about May 20, 2014.

         Plaintiff, as well as her husband, agreed to a settlement of all claims against Defendant Blue District ___The seal documents relating to the Confidential Wrongful Death Settlement that they seek to be approved, which included:

a. Joint Application for Approval of Confidential Wrongful Death Settlement
b. Affidavits from Plaintiff, Rebecca Lewis, and her husband Will Lewis, including an attachment to each affidavit to which each signed showing a summary of how the proposed settlement proceeds would be distributed and apportioned
c. The parties' proposed Settlement agreement terms and release of all claims.
d.___

         II. Discussion

         The parties ask the Court to approve a final settlement of___Of that total, the affidavits from Plaintiff and her husband Will Lewis, as well as the contractual agreement, were provided in support of the request for the Court to approve the ___attorneys' fees, and in support of the request to approve reimbursement of litigation expenses that were advanced on then behalf___Finally, the affidavits from Plaintiff and her husband Will Lewis indicate an agreement between them to split the remaining settlement proceeds equally between them.

         The parties submitted under seal the Confidential Wrongful Death Settlement Agreement Terms and frill release of claims which indicates that the parties' desire for the total settlement amount to be made to Sullivan Law, LLC and thereafter if the settlement was approved, Sullivan Law, LLC would distribute the proceeds in accord with this Court's Order approving said Confidential Wrongful Death Settlement with respect to attorneys' fees, litigation expenses and apportionment between Plaintiff, and her husband.___

         Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.095 provides that the trial court must approve any settlement in a claim for damages under Missouri's wrongful death statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.080. Specifically, “upon the approval of any settlement for which a petition or application for such approval has been filed, the court shall state the total settlement approved. The court shall then enter a judgment as to such damages, apportioning them among those persons entitled thereto in proportion to the losses suffered by each as determined by the court.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.095.3. If multiple parties have standing to sue under the wrongful death statute, any one or more of them may compromise or settle the claim for damages with approval of any circuit court, . . . provided that the claimant or petitioner shall satisfy the court that she has diligently attempted to notify all parties having a cause of action under Section 537.080. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.095.1.

         In entering judgment, “[t]he court shall order the claimant: (1) to collect and receipt for the payment of the judgment; (2) to deduct and pay the expenses of recovery and collection of the judgment and the attorneys' fees as contracted…(3) To acknowledge satisfaction in whole or in part of the judgment and costs; (4) to distribute the net proceeds as ordered by ...


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