United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
C.S., by and through his next friend, Joseph St. Pierre, Plaintiff,
Tina Johnson, et al. Defendants. C.S., by and through his next friend, Joseph St. Pierre, Plaintiff,
South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS), et. al. Defendants.
ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT
C. Coggins, Jr. United States District Judge
matter came before me on January 23, 2019, for the hearing of
a Petition for Approval of Settlement (the
“Petition”) filed by Petitioner, Joseph St.
Pierre (“Petitioner”), the duly qualified and
acting next friend of Plaintiff C.S. Though court approval of
the settlement is not required by law, the parties sought
this Court's review and approval of the settlement to
affirm its fullness, fairness, and finality, and to ensure
the settlement is justified and in the best interest of C.S.
After considering the evidence presented and the arguments of
counsel, the Court finds and concludes as follows:
C.S., through his next friend Joseph St. Pierre, previously
asserted causes of action related to or arising from alleged
personal physical injury via sexual abuse against Defendants
in the above-captioned matters. See Amended
Complaint in No. 8:17-cv-03308-DCC [ECF No. 38]; Complaint in
No. 8:18-cv-01087-DCC [ECF No. 1-1].
Defendants denied all allegations by C.S. and asserted
affirmative defenses to dispute any liability. In addition,
some Defendants filed Partial Motions to Dismiss, which were
granted without prejudice and with leave for Plaintiff to
amend his Complaint.
Further, Defendant South Carolina Department of Social
Services filed a third-party action for contractual
indemnification against Defendant South Carolina Youth
parties conducted detailed discovery and all key witnesses in
the case were deposed.
Following discovery and depositions, in the interest of
compromise, and being mindful that Defendants' liability
in this lawsuit is disputed and in further view of the risk,
expense, and delay involved in further litigation, Petitioner
and Defendants agreed to a confidential settlement and mutual
Court has reviewed and analyzed the reasonableness of the
settlement at the hearing held on January 23, 2019. The Court
also reviewed the parties' proposed Confidential
Settlement and Mutual Release Agreement for settlement of
C.S.'s claims, which was provided to the Court for in
reading and carefully considering the verified Petition
addressed to this Court, the Confidential Settlement and
Mutual Release Agreement executed by parties, and upon
seeing, observing, and interviewing the parties and their
counsel, the Court concludes that the settlement is fair,
just, and in the best interest of C.S. and the other parties,
and that the same should be approved. The Court finds and
concludes that Petitioner has carefully considered the
advisability of accepting this offer on behalf of C.S., that
the settlement constitutes a good faith settlement under
South Carolina law, and that said settlement should be
accepted and approved.
Further, after reading and carefully considering the verified
Petition addressed to this Court, and upon seeing, observing,
and interviewing the parties and their counsel, the Court
further authorizes the disbursement of $76, 000 in
attorneys' fees and $12, 898.82 in costs to Heather H.
Stone, Esq., of the firm Hite & Stone, for attorneys'
fees and costs incurred in the representation of Petitioner
in this action. The remaining settlement proceeds are to be
handled and disbursed by the Petitioner in accordance with
the distribution outlined by Petitioner in the Verified
Petition, with the exception that the LLC that shall hold
title to C.S.'s real property shall be solely owned and
managed by C.S.
After careful consideration of the materials and statements
provided by the parties and/or their counsel, the Court
concludes the terms and amounts of the proposed settlement
are fair and reasonable in exchange for a complete release
and acquittance of Defendants from all claims, causes of
action, and/or third-party claims that were or could have
been asserted by the parties to this suit.
THEREFORE, ORDERED that Petitioner, as next friend of
Plaintiff C.S., is authorized to execute the Confidential
Settlement and Mutual Release Agreement and any other
documents that may be necessary to effect a release,
settlement and dismissal of all claims the Petitioner may
have against Defendants, and that representatives of the
other parties are authorized to execute said agreement and
documents to effectuate the settlement and acquittance of the
claims, including those that Defendant South Carolina
Department of Social Services may have against Defendant
South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, arising out of or in
any way connected with the above described incident.
not an Order for Judgment, but merely an approval of the
settlement, as provided by the statutes and laws of this
State, and, therefore, IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk
of this Court shall not enter this as a money judgment.
FURTHER ORDERED that the case shall be dismissed, with
prejudice, with ...