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STEPHEN M. JOHNSON v. SEARS (10/30/81)

filed: October 30, 1981.

STEPHEN M. JOHNSON, A MINOR BY HIS GUARDIAN MILLARD JOHNSON, JR. AND MILLARD JOHNSON, JR. AND ANN JOHNSON IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, APPELLANTS
v.
SEARS, ROEBUCK AND COMPANY AND JOHN HERRON, MARSHALL A. BERNSTEIN, ESQUIRE AND JULES N. MAZIS, ESQUIRE, PARTICIPATING PARTIES



No. 757 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Civil, at No. 3345 of December Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

James M. McMaster, Newtown, for appellants.

Daniel J. Ryan, Philadelphia, submitted a brief on behalf of Sears and Herron, appellees.

Thomas N. O'Neill, Jr., Philadelphia, for participating parties.

Hester, Wickersham and Lipez, JJ. Lipez, J., files a dissenting statement.

Author: Wickersham

[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 626]

This is an appeal from an order denying appellants' "Petition to Modify Minor's Compromise Settlement" regarding the amount and manner of payment of attorneys' fees. We reverse the order of the lower court and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 627]

On January 14, 1974, Stephen M. Johnson, ("the minor") was struck by a truck owned by defendant Sears, Roebuck and Company and driven by defendant John Herron. Stephen Johnson, age eleven, sustained severe personal injuries and was rendered comatose as a result of the accident.*fn1

Suit was filed on December 19, 1975 on behalf of the minor and his parents, Ann and Millard Johnson, Jr. The case was prepared and listed for trial June 12, 1978. Six days prior thereto, a settlement conference was held by the lower court, and settlement was reached and approved by order of the lower court on June 29, 1978.

The court below summarized the settlement as follows:

The agreement provided for an immediate payment to Petitioners of $100,000.00; immediate payment of counsel fees of $500,000.00 and the purchase by the Defendants of a lifetime annuity on behalf of the minor with the following provisions: (1) yearly payments of $23,000.00 for the life of the minor, (2) the yearly amount payable under the annuity will increase by three (3%) percent per annum compounded, (3) payments of the amounts due under the annuity will be made monthly, (4) payments under the annuity ...


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