United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southwestern Division
ORDER AND JUDGMENT APPROVING WRONGFUL DEATH
Roseann A. Ketchmark, United States District Judge.
the Court is the parties' Joint Motion for Disbursement
of Funds and Application for Approval of Wrongful Death
Settlement (“the Motion”). (Doc. 46.) The Court
held a wrongful death settlement hearing on April 17, 2019.
(Doc. 47.) After careful consideration, the Motion is
GRANTED. The settlement proceeds shall be
distributed in accordance with this Order.
suit stems from Thomas Sekscinski
(“Decedent”)'s death. Plaintiff Jasmin
Sekscinski (“Plaintiff”) is an adult and one of
Decedent's five children. Plaintiff filed suit under
Missouri's wrongful death statute, RSMo. § 537.080
alleging wrongful death, assault and battery for purported
violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and attorney's fees
under 42 U.S.C. § 1988. Plaintiff has agreed to a
settlement of all claims against Defendant Weston Welch
(“Defendant”). The parties seek Court approval
for a settlement sum of $150, 000. The settlement amount is
to be allocated as follows: (1) $60, 000 for attorney's
fees; (2) $13, 229.91 for case expenses; and (3) $76, 770.09
apportioned equally to the Decedent's five children.
§ 537.095 requires court approval for any settlement of
a wrongful death claim brought under RSMo. § 537.080.
RSMo. § 537.095 requires “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 to the losses suffered by
each as determined by the court.” 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 attorney's fees as contracted . . . (3)
To acknowledge satisfaction in whole or in part for the
judgment and costs; (4) To distribute the net proceeds as
ordered by the court; and (5) To report and account therefor
to the court.” RSMo. § 537.095.4.
“Therefore, before granting judgment, the Court must
resolve four questions: whether (1) the Plaintiff attempted
to notify all parties having a cause of action arising from
decedent 's death, (2) the proposed settlement is
properly apportioned, (3) the attorneys' fees provided in
the proposed settlement are proper, and (4) the parties'
proposal for distributing the settlement proceeds complies
with the statutory requirement.” Lewis v. Blue
Springs School District, 2018 WL 1126751, at *2 (W.D.
Mo. Mar. 1, 2018).
there are multiple parties with standing to sue under RSMo.
§ 537.080, before a settlement may be approved by the
Court, the plaintiff must “satisfy the court that he
has diligently attempted to notify all parties having a cause
of action under section 537.080.” RSMo. §
537.095.1. “A party has a cause of action if he is
‘the spouse or children or the surviving lineal
descendants of any deceased children, natural or adopted,
legitimate or illegitimate, or by the father or mother of the
deceased, natural or adoptive.” Lewis, 2018 WL
1126751, at *2 (quoting RSMo. § 537.080.1).
asserts there are no surviving parents or spouse of Decedent,
and she is one of five surviving children of Decedent.
Plaintiff provided documentation establishing that notice to
the other four surviving children was provide in accordance
with RSMo. § 537.080. Accordingly, the Court finds
Plaintiff and the other four children of Decedent are the
only surviving parties with a cause of action under RSMo.
§ 537.080; therefore, the notice requirement is
satisfied. See Lang v. Mino Farms, Inc., 2016 WL
4031230, at *2 (W.D. Mo. July 26, 2016) (the court held the
plaintiffs satisfied the notice requirement because the
plaintiffs are the only individuals that may recover for the
decedent's death “because they are his only known
spouse, children, parents, or siblings”).
Conservatorship of Minor Parties
has two adult children and three minor children.
Decedent's two adult children are Plaintiff and Kyle
Mclain. Decedent's three minor children are O.S.; L.S.;
and W.S. On April 22, 2019, the Circuit Court of Cole County
Court appointed Monica Sekscinski as conservator for L.S.,
O.S., and W.S. See (Docs. 48, 49, 50.); In the
Estate of L.S., No. 19AC-PR00065; In the Estate of
O.S., No. 19AC-PR00066; In the Estate of W.S.,
§ 537.080(1) and (2) describes the class of persons who
can sue for damages in a wrongful death action, and the
statute provides that a wrongful death action may be brought
by: “(1) the spouse or children . . . of the
deceased.” RSMo. § 537.080 states that if there is
no class of persons in RSMo. § 537.080(1) or (2) to
bring the action, a plaintiff ad litem should be appointed
and the “court may, in its discretion, require that
such plaintiff ad litem give bond for the faithful