Case Number: BC723093    Hearing Date: February 13, 2020    Dept: 27

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

On September 25, 2018, plaintiff Allison Bohrman filed this action against defendants Johnny C. Seamons, Bennett International Group, LLC, and Bennett Motor Express, LLC (collectively, “Settling Defendants”), and Michael James Lhullier. Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident with Settling Defendants on November 28, 2016 and another accident on February 8, 2017 with Lhullier.  Plaintiff and Settling Defendants have agreed to settle for $27,501.00 and seek a determination of good faith settlement.  No party filed an opposition.

The Court must approve any settlement entered into by less than all joint tortfeasors or co-obligors.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 877.6.)  To demonstrate a lack of good faith, the non-settling party must show that the settlement is so far “out of the ballpark” as to be inconsistent with the equitable objectives of Section 877.6.  (Nutrition Now, Inc. v. Superior Court (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 209, 213.)  The Court will typically consider: (1) the plaintiff’s (roughly) approximated total recovery; (2) the settlor’s share of liability; (3) the size of the settlement at issue; (4) the distribution of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs; (5) the usual discount value when plaintiffs settle before trial; the settlor’s financial condition and insurance policy limits; and (6) whether there is evidence of “collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants.”  (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499.)  “When no one objects, the barebones motion which sets forth the ground for good faith, accompanied by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case is sufficient” for the Court to grant a motion for determination of good faith settlement.  (City of Grand Terracesupra, 192 Cal.App.3d at p. 1261.)

Plaintiff claims $30,000 in medical expenses between the two incidents.  Even though their insurance exceeds the amount of the settlement, Settling Defendants contend it is fair because at most they would be found liable for half of Plaintiff’s damages, and the settlement covers most of the medical damages.  The Court finds that the settlement is within the ballpark, and GRANTS the motion for determination of good faith settlement.  The Court finds this settlement was made in good faith and any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor is barred from asserting further claims against Settling Defendants for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or comparative fault.

Moving party to give notice.