United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
J.V., a minor, by K.V., his next friend, parent, and natural guardian, Plaintiff,
DUVAL COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, et al., Defendants.
MORALES HDWARD UNITED SLATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court on the Amended Motion to
Approve Settlement (Doc. 71; Motion), filed under seal, with
leave of Court, on March 26, 2018. See Order (Doc.
70), entered March 12, 2018. In the Motion, the minor
Plaintiff J.V., by his next friend, parent, and natural
guardian, K.V., seeks this Court's approval, pursuant to
Florida Statutes § 744.387, of the settlement of the
claims brought in the above-styled cause. See Motion
at 1. Plaintiff also seeks this Court's
“authorization to execute a Release of All Claims and
to distribute funds . . . .” Id. Plaintiff
represents to the Court that Defendants have no objection to
the relief requested. See Motion at 3.
744.387 of the Florida Statutes requires a guardian to seek
approval from the Court “[w]hen a settlement of any
claim by or against the guardian, whether arising as a result
of personal injury or otherwise . . . is proposed.”
Fla. Stat. § 744.387(1); see also id. §
744.387(3)(a). Pursuant to this provision, the Court may
authorize the settlement “if satisfied that the
settlement will be for the best interest of the ward.”
Id. § 744.387(1). Florida Probate Rule 5.636(b)
provides that a petition to approve a settlement of a
minor's claim must include the initials, residence
address, and year of birth of the minor; the name and
residence address of the natural guardians or other persons
having legal custody of the minor; as well as the name and
address of any guardian appointed for the minor. See
Fla. Probate R. 5.636(b)(1)-(3). This Florida Probate Rule
further requires a petitioner to submit: a description of the
cause of action, a summary of the proposed settlement, copies
of the agreements and releases, and a statement disclosing
any interests of the guardians that conflict with those of
the minor. See Fla. Probate R. 5.636(b)(4)-(7).
Accordingly, in support of the Motion, Plaintiff filed under
seal the proposed Settlement Agreement and Release (Doc.
71-1) encompassing the terms of the settlement with
Defendants Duval County School Board, Cindy Ashton, and
Stephanie Jones, and the Release of All Claims (Doc. 71-2),
setting forth the terms of the settlement with Defendant
Durham School Services, L.P. (collectively, the Settlement
Agreements). Plaintiff has also submitted to the
undersigned's chambers a Closing Statement which sets
forth the intended disbursement of the funds.
review of Plaintiff's submissions, the Court finds that
Plaintiff has complied with Florida Probate Rule 5.636(b). In
addition, the Court notes that Attorney Deborah Gallagher
Warner was previously appointed as a guardian ad litem for
J.V. in this proceeding. See Order (Doc. 48),
entered August 16, 2017. Plaintiff asserts that the guardian
ad litem has reviewed the Closing Statement and believes
“the settlement and proposed distribution of settlement
funds is reasonable and in the best interest of J.V.”
See Motion at 2-3. The Court has reviewed the
Motion, Settlement Agreements, and record in this case, and
upon due consideration, agrees with the assessment of the
guardian ad litem and finds that the terms of the settlement
are fair, reasonable, and in the best interest of J.V.
Accordingly, the Court will approve the settlement and grant
the Motion in its entirety. In light of the foregoing, it is
1. Plaintiff's Amended Motion to Approve Settlement (Doc.
71) is GRANTED.
2. For purposes of satisfying section 744.387 of the Florida
Statutes, the Settlement Agreement and Release (Doc. 71-1),
the Release of All Claims (Doc. 71-2), and the proposed
Closing Statement are APPROVED.
3. Counsel for Plaintiff is authorized to receive and accept
the settlement funds and disburse the same in accordance with
the Closing Statement.
4. K.V., the minor's natural guardian, is authorized to:
a. Accept the compromise of the subject claims from
Defendants in accordance with the Settlement Agreements, and
b. Execute a Release of All Claims as to Defendants relating
to the claims asserted against them in this action.
5. The parties shall have up to and including April
27, 2018, to file a joint stipulation of dismissal
or other appropriate documents to close out this file.
6. If the parties have not filed the appropriate dismissal
documents or a request for additional time by the
April 27, 2018, deadline, this case will
automatically be deemed to be dismissed without prejudice.