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Doe v. City of Las Vegas

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 3, 2017

JANE DOE, a minor, by and through her natural parent, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LAS VEGAS, a political subdivision of the State of Nevada; ASHLEY FERNANDEZ, individually; CINDY MOYES, individually; and ANDREA ANZALONE, individually; Defendants. DATE VENDOR DESCRIPTION AMOUNT

          LAGOMARSINO LAW ANDRE M. LAGOMARSINO, ESQ. Attorney for Plaintiff

          CITY OF LAS VEGAS Bradford R. Jerbic, Esq. Philip R. Byrnes, Esq. Attorneys for Defendants

          STIPULATED PETITION FOR MINOR'S COMPROMISE AND [PROPOSED] ORDER

         COME NOW all parties, by and through their respective counsel of record, and hereby jointly submit the following Stipulated Petition for Minor's Compromise.

         1. APPLICABLE STANDARD

         The court has an inherent duty to protect the interests of minors and incompetents who appear before it. See Keith v. Jackson, 855 F.Supp. 765, 775 (E.D. Pa. 1994) (citing Dacanay v. Mendoza, 573 F.2d 1075, 1079 (9th Cir. 1978)). As part of that duty, the court must determine the fairness of any settlement agreement and the reasonableness of any attorneys' fees and costs to be paid from the settlement amount in a suit brought on behalf of a minor or incompetent.

         Federal courts have held that it is appropriate to apply the rules prescribed by state law in determining the fairness of a minor's compromise and the reasonableness of any attorneys' fees and costs allocated from that settlement in both federal question and diversity cases.[1] For example, see Erie RR. v. Tompkins. 304 U.S. 64 (1938), and Stecvkv. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., 53 F.Supp.2d 794, 801 (E.D. Pa. 1999).

         In approving the settlement, the court must also assess the reasonableness of the requested counsel fees. In so doing, the court must "strike a balance between being a 'passive proforma rubber stamp'... and being too intrusive in its consideration of the fairness of counsel fees."[2]

II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

         1. Plaintiff, JANE DOE ("JANE") is a minor child who suffers from mental disabilities.

         2. CATRINA JAMES is JANE'S parent and is legally permitted to bring this Petition on JANE'S behalf pursuant to NRS § 12.080.

         Plaintiffs Allegations[3]

         3. At all times relevant herein, Plaintiff JANE DOE was a minor-aged participant of the City of Las Vegas Adaptive Recreation Program at the East Las Vegas Community Center located at 250 N. Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada 89101.

         4. Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court, District of Nevada, giving rise to Case No. 2:16-CV-01979- GMN-VCF ("lawsuit") against the above named parties, alleging: (1) City of Las Vegas Inadequate Training Program and Policies were deliberately indifferent to the rights of Plaintiff and other participants, and caused her to be inappropriately touched one time on January 28, 2016 by another participant; (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendant FERNANDEZ; (3) Negligence against Defendants FERNANDEZ and CITY OF LAS VEGAS; (4) Negligence against Defendants MOYES and CITY OF LAS VEGAS; (5) Negligence against Defendants ANZALONE and CITY OF LAS VEGAS; (6) Negligent Training, Supervision and Retention against CITY OF LAS VEGAS (7) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Supervisor Liability against Defendant MOYES; (8) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Supervisor Liability against Defendant ANZALONE; and (9) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Municipal Liability against Defendant CITY OF LAS VEGAS.

         III. TOTAL SETTLEMENT DISBURSEMENT

         5. A Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") was reached in the instant litigation matter between Plaintiff and Defendants in March, 2017 in the amount of ($160, 000.00).

         6. Attorneys' Fees: Three (3) attorneys and one (1) paralegal worked extensively on this case. The undersigned partner was the lead attorney on the case and conducted all of the depositions. The firm has rendered extensive legal services on behalf of the Plaintiff including, but not limited to, pre-litigation investigations, drafting and preparing pleadings and papers filed in this case, client conferences, depositions, discovery disputes, extensive written discovery, motion practice, negotiations with the City of Las Vegas' attorneys that lasted several months, and ultimately a mediation with Judge Pro. Plaintiff requests confirmation of the following amounts to be paid from the Agreement[4] amount ($160, 000.00):

a) Costs advanced to Lagomarsino Law totaling $11, 660.41[5];
b) Attorney Fees (40%) to Lagomarsino Law totaling $64, ...

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