United States District Court, D. Nevada
ALLEN M. MILLER, Plaintiff,
C.H. ROBINSON WORLDWIDE, INC., RONEL R. SINGH, RHEAS TRANS, INC., and KUWAR SINGH dba RT SERVICE, Defendants.
MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action concerns a motor vehicle accident involving a
commercial semi-tractor trailer that rendered Plaintiff Allen
M. Miller (“Miller”) a quadriplegic. Before the
Court are Miller's motion for determination and approval
of good faith settlement under Nevada Revised Statute §
17.245 (“GFS Motion”) (ECF No. 90) and Defendant
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.'s (“Robinson”)
motion for fees and nontaxable costs pursuant to Nev. R. Civ.
P. 68 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 68 (“Fees & Costs
Motion”) (ECF No. 86). For the reasons provided below,
the Court grants Miller's GFS Motion and denies
Robinson's Fees & Costs Motion.
detailed facts of this case may be found in (ECF No. 84).
here, Defendants Ronel R. Singh, Rheas Trans, Inc. and Kuwar
Singh dba RT Service (“RT Service”)
(collectively, “Settling Defendants”) reached a
settlement with Miller for $750, 000. (ECF No. 90-1; ECF No.
94-4.) These parties entered their /// settlement agreement
(“Agreement”) in spring 2018. (Id.) Per
the Agreement, Miller agrees to release Settling Defendants
from liability. (ECF No. 90-1.) The settling parties submit
that the $750, 000 is the limit of the Settling
Defendants' insurance policy. (ECF No. 90 at 2; ECF No.
90-2.) Non-settling Defendant, Robinson-the freight broker
that selected RT Services to haul the commercial load at the
time of the accident-does not oppose “the [GFS Motion]
being granted.” (ECF No. 92.)
2018, Robinson also extended an offer of judgment
(“Offer”) to Miller via its counsel and pursuant
to Nev. R. Civ. P. 68 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 68. (ECF No. 86 at 15,
21, 23-25.) In addition to offering Miller a settlement of
$500, 001.00, Robinson's letter offering settlement
(“Offer Letter”) extensively provided its legal
position. (See generally id.) The Offer Letter
particularly detailed Robinson's position that, inter
alia, Miller's negligent hiring claim “will be
dismissed . . . because it is preempted by federal
law.” (Id. at 18; see Id. at 18-20.)
The Offer Letter informed Miller that Robinson intended to
raise its preemption claims and arguments in its forthcoming
motion for judgment on the pleadings (“JOP
Motion”). (Id. at 20.) Robinson provided that
because after discovery it became “abundantly
clear” that Miller had no cognizable claim against it,
it was extending the Offer before filing the motion for
judgment on the pleadings. (Id. at 21-22.) Robinson
also informed that in light of its offer and should it
prevail on the JOP Motion, Robinson would seek an award of
costs and fees from the date of the Offer. (Id. at
22.) Miller did not accept the Offer. (ECF No. 94-1.)
then filed its JOP Motion in July 2018 (ECF No. 59), which
this Court granted (ECF No. 84). Robinson thereafter filed
the instant Fees & Costs Motion. (ECF No. 86.)
GFS MOTION (ECF NO. 90)
Nevada, it is within the considerable discretion of a
court-considering the relevant facts available-to determine
whether a settlement was made in good faith under NRS §
17.245. Velsicol Chem. Corp. v. Davidson, 811 P.2d
561, 563 (Nev. 1991). Where a defendant settles with
plaintiffs in good faith, it cannot be held liable by its
codefendants in tort for contribution or equitable indemnity.
Otak Nev., LLC v. Eight Jud. Dist. Ct., 312 P.3d
491, 496 (Nev. 2013) (referencing NRS § 17.245(b) (1)).
This result is inherent in NRS § 17.245's goal to
“encourage settlements.” In Re MGM Grand
Hotel Fire Litigation, 570 F.Supp. 913, 927 (D. Nev.
following factors are relevant to a court's good faith
determination: “[t]he amount paid in settlement, the
allocation of the settlement among plaintiffs, the insurance
policy limits of settling defendants, the financial condition
of settling defendants, and the existence of collusion, fraud
or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of
non-settling defendants.” Id. (internal
quotation and citation omitted). A court may also consider
“the merits of any contribution or equitable indemnity
claims against the settling defendant.” Otak Nev.,
LLC, 312 P.3d at 496 (citation omitted). Moreover, the
court is not limited to these factors in making its
discretionary determination. Velsicol Chem., 811
P.2d at 563 (declining to adopt the “California
rule” mandating consideration of any specific factors).
In the process of the court's determination, “[a]
non-settling party is fully protected by its ability to
present counter-affidavits or evidence at a hearing on the
issue of ‘good faith.'” In Re MGM Grand
Hotel Fire Litigation, 570 F.Supp. at 927.
discretion, the Court grants the GFS Motion. Paramount in the
Court's decision to grant the GFS Motion is that
Non-settling Defendant Robinson does not oppose the granting
of the motion. (ECF No. 92.) Under Local Rule 7-2(d)
“[t]he failure of an opposing party to file points and
authorities in response to any motion except a motion under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 or a motion for attorney's fees,
constitutes consent to the granting of the motion.”
See LR 7-2(d). Further, it is uncontested that the
$750, 000 settlement here is the policy limit of Settling
Defendants' insurance. Thus, the Settling Defendants'
financial condition supersedes any consideration of
apportionment of liability among the Defendants. Moreover,
the latter has been rendered irrelevant in this case because
the Court granted Robinson's JOP Motion. Lastly, the
Court finds no evidence of collusion, fraud or tortious
conduct by the settling parties as against Robinson.
Accordingly, the /// Court determines that Miller and
Settling Defendants reached settlement in good faith and
therefore grants the GFS Motion.
FEES & COSTS MOTION (ECF NO. 86)
requests an award of fees in the amount of $126, 501.25 and
nontaxable costs in the amount of $95, 839.03. (ECF No. 86 at
12.) As Robinson indicates, it cannot recover its fees and
costs based on the Offer under Fed.R.Civ.P. 68 given it
obtained judgment in its favor (ECF No. 86 at 6), in light of
the Supreme Court's strict application of the rule.
See Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. August,450 U.S. 346,
352 (1981). However, fees and costs are generally available
under Nev. R. Civ. P. 68. See Beattie v. Thomas, 668
P.2d 268, 274 (Nev. 1983) (disagreeing with Delta Air
Lines, Inc. and ruling that Nev. R. Civ. P. ...