United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
Maxine Massey, as Personal Representative for the Estate of the Decedent Thurston Massey, Plaintiff,
County of Orangeburg and South Carolina Department of Public Safety, Defendant.
matter is before the court on Plaintiff Maxine Massey's
(“Plaintiff”) motion and petition, as Personal
Representative for the Estate of the Decedent Thurston
Massey, seeking approval of a proposed settlement of a
wrongful death and survival claim against the County of
Orangeburg and South Carolina Department of Public Safety
(“Defendants”). (ECF No. 33.) The court held a
hearing on October 31, 2017, in regard to the settlement
agreement between Plaintiff; Plaintiff's counsel, Daniel
S. Haltiwanger; Defendant's counsel for the County of
Orangeburg, Norma A.T. Jett; and Defendants counsel for the
South Carolina Department of Public Safety, David A.
DeMasters. Upon review of the motions, petitions, testimony,
filings, and other information provided both before and after
the hearing, the court approves this settlement, bars any
further claims against Defendants, and this action is
dismissed with prejudice.
ALLEGATIONS AND FINDINGS
Plaintiff is the mother and duly appointed Personal
Representative of the Estate of Thurston Massey, having been
so appointed by the Orangeburg County Probate Court.
or about October 21, 2013, Decedent Thurston Massey died of
hypovolemic shock in the Orangeburg County Detention Center.
On September 15, 2016, Petitioner filed this action in the
Orangeburg County Court of Common Pleas, asserting wrongful
death and survival claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
negligence and gross negligence, for the benefit of the
Estate and the statutory beneficiaries of Thurston Massey.
The case was removed to this court on October 25, 2016. This
court has jurisdiction to determine the instant Petition.
Defendants answered the Complaint and vigorously contested
Plaintiff's allegations and assertion of liability.
Defendants did not admit fault or liability. The parties
engaged in extensive discovery. The dispute was mediated on
September 14, 2017, and the parties were successful in
reaching a mediated settlement agreement. As a result of this
agreement, Plaintiff has previously stipulated the dismissal
of all Defendants except the County of Orangeburg and the
South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
parties have now agreed to settle all remaining claims in
this action for the aggregate amount of Three Hundred
Thousand Dollars ($300, 000.00), inclusive of attorney's
fees and costs. $50, 000.00 is being paid on behalf of the
South Carolina Department of Public Safety and $250, 000.00
is being paid on behalf of Orangeburg County. Plaintiff
desires to apportion the entire settlement to the claims
alleged under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants.
Plaintiff asserts there are no known creditors of the Estate
and there are no outstanding claims or liens against the
Thurston Massey died on October 21, 2013 unmarried and
without children. Mr. Massey did have a partner, Allen
Milburn, though they remained unmarried. Thus, the statutory
beneficiaries of Decedent are his parents.
Plaintiff has been advised of the nature and effect of this
settlement, and is satisfied with the services and
explanations provided by her attorneys.
Plaintiff fully understands that upon the court's
approval of this settlement Defendants will be fully and
finally released, discharged, and this action will be forever
Plaintiff and her attorneys believe this settlement to be
fair and reasonable and in the best interests of the
upon the fact that the court has reviewed the Verified
Petition; and conducted a settlement hearing on October 31,
2017, where the court was able to question Plaintiff and
counsel for both parties, the court finds the settlement as
outlined above and in the Petition to be reasonable and
appropriate for this case, and