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Miller v. Mylan, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 8, 2017

BETH ANNE MILLER, Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF BETH ANN KELLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
MYLAN INC., ET AL., Defendants.

          District Judge, Paul D. Borman

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STEVEN WHALEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for: A) Approval of and Authority to Settle Wrongful Death Claim; B) Request for Full Authority to Sign Releases and all Settlement Paperwork Related Thereto as it Relates to Defendants; C) Approval of and Request for Reimbursement and Payment of Partial Litigation Costs; D) Approval of and Request for Distribution of Wrongful Death Proceeds; and E) Request for Order of Dismissal [Doc. #50], which has been referred for a Report and Recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). The motion is unopposed. For the reasons discussed below and at the evidentiary hearing held on January 5, 2017, I recommend that the motion be GRANTED.

         I. FACTS

         Beth Ann Miller is the personal representative of the Estate of Beth Ann Kelley, having been appointed as such by the Oakland County Probate Court. On behalf of the estate, she filed the present wrongful death action in the Oakland County Circuit Court. Defendants removed the case to this Court. The parties engaged in settlement negotiations, and reached a confidential settlement agreement, which has been filed under seal as Confidential Exhibit 2 [Doc. #52] to this Motion. The parties seek approval of the settlement agreement.

         The Court held a hearing on January 5, 2017, at which the Beth Anne Miller, the personal representative, gave testimony and Plaintiff's counsel offered argument. Defendants counsel was also present. Ms. Miller testified that all heirs at law/next of kin, or other interested parties have been notified of this litigation, as required by Michigan's wrongful death statute, M.C.L. § 600.2922.[1] She testified that as personal representative, she believes that the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable for all parties, and that it is in the best interest of the Estate to settle the matter pursuant to the terms set forth in Confidential Exhibit 2. She and Plaintiff's counsel indicated that Plaintiff's counsel is not taking any attorney fees from the net proceeds of the settlement. Ms. Miller requests that no portion of the settlement proceeds be paid into the estate as payment of conscious pain and suffering for the Decedent.

         The terms of the agreement are set forth in Confidential Exhibit 2 [Doc. #52], filed under seal.

         II. DISCUSSION

         The procedure for settlement of wrongful death claims and distribution of proceeds is governed by M.C.L. § 600.2922. See also Crystal v. Hubbard, 414 Mich. 297 (1980), 324 N.W.2d 869 (1980). When a wrongful death case has been settled, the statute entrusts the personal representative of an estate with the duty to file with the Court a petition for authority to distribute proceeds, and to serve the petition on all persons identified as interested parties. All person entitled to receive that notice are given the opportunity to come forward at the hearing and make objections and/or claims.

         Following the hearing held on January 5, 2017, I am satisfied that the Personal Representative has complied with Michigan's wrongful death statute, that all interested parties received notice of the Plaintiff's petition and of the hearing, that no objections to or other claim on the settlement proceeds have been lodged by any interested party, that the proposed settlement is in the best interests of the Estate, the heirs/interested parties, and the Defendants, and that all parties have knowingly and voluntarily agreed to the proposed settlement.

         III. CONCLUSION

         I therefore recommend that this Court enter an Order:

(1) Approving and giving full authority to the Personal Representative to settle this wrongful death claim;
(2) Giving full authority to the Personal Representative to sign releases and all related settlement paperwork for the settlement of this ...

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