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STECYK v. BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON

June 21, 1999

MICHELLE S. STECYK, ET AL.
v.
BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON, INC., ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, District Judge.

ORDER-MEMORANDUM

AND NOW this 21th day of June, 1999, upon consideration of Michelle Stecyk's petition for approval of the Settlement for the benefit of her minor son, a supplement petition (doc. no. 304), and following two hearings at which evidence was received, and a scheduling conference with counsel for the parties, it is hereby ORDERED that the petitions are DENIED IN PART AND GRANTED IN PART.

It is further ORDERED that the proceeds of the settlement shall be apportioned and distributed as follows:*fn1

1) Mattioni Ltd. for counsel fees:      $467,905.56

2) Under the Wrongful Death Act:

Michelle S. Stecyk (spouse)          $458,002.01
Anthony L. Stecyk (son)              $452,766.87

It is further ORDERED that plaintiff's counsel is authorized to release the settlement funds held in escrow to plaintiff and to the Mattioni law firm in the amount listed above.

It is further ORDERED that plaintiff's counsel shall petition the court with appropriate jurisdiction, the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, for appointment of a guardian for the minor's estate to administer the distribution of the minor's share of the settlement funds. See Pa. R. Civ. P. 2206; Sosenke v. Norwood, No. 91-2623, 1993 WL 512824, at *3 (E.D.Pa. Dec.6, 1993) (Bechtle, J.) (not allowing distribution of settlement funds to minor until a corporate guardian for minor had been appointed by court with appropriate jurisdiction).

It is further ORDERED that the minor's share listed above shall be kept in the escrow account and no further distribution shall be made until further order of this court.

The decision of the court is based upon the following reasoning:

Background.

1. The present actions is one of four consolidated diversity actions that arose out of the crash of an experimental V-22 Osprey aircraft during a ferry flight near Quantico, Virginia on July 20, 1992. Each of the four cases proceeded on the theory that the defendants' negligence caused the crash. Prior to trial, two of the four plaintiffs settled — the present case for $1.5 million and the other for $1.1 million. The other two plaintiffs proceeded to trial where the jury returned a defense verdict. Before the court are Michelle S. Stecyk's (hereinafter "plaintiff") petitions for approval of the portion of the settlement for the benefit of her minor son. Specifically, plaintiff requests the distribution of the $1.5 million settlement fund in the amount $632,215.91 to herself, $245,586.10 to her minor son and $500,872.42 to her counsel. On June 14, 1999, this court entered an order finding that the settlement was fair and reasonable and in the best interest of the minor child. See Order of June 14, 1999 (doc. no. 306). In addition, the court concluded that the costs in the amount of $121,325.57, advanced by plaintiff's counsel were reasonable and ...


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