United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division
Esha R. Crowder as Personal Representative of the Estate of Tresy S. Crowder, Plaintiff,
Continental Tire The Americas, LLC, COSSI Holdings, LLC d/b/a SpeeDee Oil Change and Auto Service, and SpeeDee Worldwide Corporation d/b/a SpeeDee Oil Change and Auto Service, Defendant.
ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT
MATTER comes before the court on the verified Petition of
Esha Rahaun Crowder, as Personal Representative of the Estate
of Tresy Sheron Crowder, seeking approval by this court of a
proposed confidential settlement agreement between Petitioner
and Defendants COSSI Holdings, LLC d/b/a Spee Dee Oil Change
and Auto Service and SpeeDee Worldwide Corporation d/b/a
SpeeDee Oil Change and Auto Service (together the
“SpeeDee Defendants”). Based on the record and
the testimony presented, I make the following findings.
or about July 19, 2012, in Calhoun County, South Carolina,
the Decedent, Tresy Sheron Crowder, was involved in an
accident while traveling as a passenger in a 1998 Ford
Explorer (“Subject Vehicle”) operated by
Sharhonda Tervell Turnipseed. Petitioner alleged the left
rear tire (“Subject Tire”) experienced a tread
separation, thereby causing the accident. Tresy Sheron
Crowder received injuries in this accident and ultimately
died from those injuries.
Rahaun Crowder alleged that the Subject Tire was defective
and that the tire failure was a cause of the said accident.
The underlying Complaint alleges claims against SpeeDee
Defendants sounding in negligence, recklessness, willfulness
SpeeDee Defendants admit that they conducted an oil change
and limited inspection of the vehicle. However, SpeeDee
Defendants deny that the death of Tresy Sheron Crowder was
the result of any negligence, recklessness, willfulness or
wantonness on its part. SpeeDee Defendants specifically deny
the breach of any duty, deny that the Subject Tire was on the
vehicle when it was with them for service, or that the tire
was defective, and they deny liability. SpeeDee Defendants,
nevertheless, in the interest of compromise, has offered to
pay a confidential settlement amount presented to the Court
to Esha Rahaun Crowder, as Personal Representative of the
Estate of Tresy Sheron Crowder, in settlement of any and all
claims brought by Esha Rahaun Crowder, as Personal
Representative of the Estate of Tresy Sheron Crowder,
including any claims that were brought under South Carolina
Wrongful Death and Survival Statutes. The full and final
settlement amount to be paid to Esha Rahaun Crowder, as
Personal Representative of the Estate of Tresy Sheron
Crowder, and the heirs and statutory wrongful death
beneficiaries by and through the Personal Representative,
Esha Rahaun Crowder is a settlement of all claims against
SpeeDee Defendants are insured in an amount in excess of the
settlement reached in this case.
find that the settlement funds to be paid by SpeeDee
Defendants shall be allocated in full to the wrongful death
cause of action.
find that Petitioner fully understands that the payments are
made to effect a full and final settlement and disposition of
any and all claims of Esha Rahaun Crowder, as Personal
Representative of the Estate of Tresy Sheron Crowder, and of
the heirs and statutory beneficiaries of Tresy Sheron Crowder
arising, occurring against SpeeDee Defendants, their
affiliates, entities, divisions, their respective heirs,
agents, apparent agents, servants, shareholders, employees,
former employees, officers, board members, and their heirs,
predecessors, successors and assigns and all other persons,
firms, entities, and insurers, as a result of the injuries
and/or death referenced above.
appears that Petitioner and Petitioner's attorney have
fully investigated the matter, and that, after giving careful
consideration to all aspects of the situation, have concluded
that the settlement is fair and advantageous from the
standpoint of Esha Rahaun Crowder, as Personal Representative
of the Estate Tresy Sheron Crowder, and the heirs at law, and
the statutory beneficiaries, and have asked this court to
approve the same.
Petitioner is represented by Ronnie L. Crosby, Randolph
Murdaugh, IV, R. Alexander Murdaugh and Austin H. Crosby of
Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick, PA in
Hampton, South Carolina. SpeeDee Defendants are represented
by Clarke W. DuBose of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.
Counsel for Petitioner has rendered services for the Estate
which consist of: deposing numerous fact witnesses including
investigating officers, occupants of the subject vehicle, and
eye witnesses; hiring an accident reconstruction expert, a
forensic tire expert with experience in manufacturing and
design of tires, and an economist to evaluate the economic
loss suffered by the statutory beneficiary. In addition,
counsel for the Estate has conducted extensive written
consideration of the above-mentioned legal services performed
in this case, counsel for Petitioner is seeking approval of
fees totaling 40% of the confidential settlement amount.
This action was prosecuted along with seven other cases that
arose from the same accident. In the interest of judicial
economy, all of the cases were consolidated for discovery
purposes. The costs associated with bringing the action was
prorated among the different cases.
find that Tresy Sheron Crowder died intestate. I find that
the beneficiary of the Estate is TLC-E (minor daughter). I
find that there are no outstanding creditors of record.
parties have provided to the court a Confidential Release,
Waiver and Indemnity Agreement on which they have agreed. The
court finds the terms of that agreement are fair, reasonable,