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WILLIAM ALAN O'NEIL v. HENRY'S RIVERSIDE MARKET. APPEAL COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/16/89)

filed: November 16, 1989.

WILLIAM ALAN O'NEIL, A MINOR BY AND THROUGH HIS PARENTS AND NATURAL GUARDIANS, JANET O'NEIL AND CARL O'NEIL AND JANET O'NEIL AND CARL O'NEIL IN THEIR OWN RIGHT
v.
HENRY'S RIVERSIDE MARKET. APPEAL OF COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County, Civil Division at No. AD 269-1988.

COUNSEL

Jason W. Manne, Pittsburgh, for Dept. of Public Welfare, appellant.

Neil R. Rosen, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

McEwen, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 388 Pa. Super. Page 635]

This case involves an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County approving settlement of a minor's claim by the appellant/Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare.*fn1 We affirm.

The facts are not contested and indicate that, as a result of an incident occurring on March 30, 1987, William Alan O'Neil, a minor, sustained personal injuries on the premises of Henry's Riverside Market in Venango County.*fn2

Counsel for the minor, after numerous discussions with representatives of the Market's insurance carrier, concluded that an offer of settlement in the amount of $9,000.00 was fair, reasonable and should be accepted by the minor. In accordance therewith, given O'Neil's status as a minor, his counsel sought court approval to settle the claim owed to, as well as monies owed by, the minor.

In a petition to settle the minor's claims, his counsel set forth a proposed distribution of the monies, the sum of

[ 388 Pa. Super. Page 636]

    which $706.00 was to be paid to the appellant, less attorney's fees of 40%, i.e., $282.40.

The Petition for Leave to Settle the Minor's Claim was granted consistent with counsel's distributive scheme on May 13, 1988. On the same date the Petition was granted, the appellant filed an answer with new matter contending that the 40% attorney's fee against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's claim, when the minor and the other creditors were being charged only 33 1/3%, was unjustified. Further, the appellant claimed that its receipt of only two days written notice prior to the time the Petition to settle was to be heard in court was "unreasonable" and did not afford it sufficient time to appear and respond to the content of the Petition's attorney-fee structure in court.

The court below denied the appellant's complaints and a timely appeal to this Court followed wherein the same two issues raised below are argued ...


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