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Verret v. City of Hobbs

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

November 30, 2018

TONIA VERRET, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF HOBBS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO APPOINT GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR PLAINTIFFS AV, MV, WV, AND JV

          HON. GREGORY J. FOURATT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the parties' “Joint Motion for Appointment of United States Magistrate Judge Gregory J. Fouratt for Order Appointing Guardian Ad Litem and for Review of and Order Approving Settlement” (“Motion”) [ECF No. 74]. The Motion asks the Court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of the minor plaintiffs [AV, MV, WV, and JV] in the context of reviewing the fairness of the settlement reached between the parties. The presiding judge in this case has referred the Motion to the undersigned to hear and determine pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). See ECF No. 76. Having considered the Motion, reviewed the record, and being otherwise fully advised, the Court FINDS:

         1. It is within the discretion of the District Court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem for a person who is or may not otherwise be able to protect his or her own interests. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(c)(2), “[t]he Court must appoint a guardian ad litem - or issue another appropriate order - to protect a minor or incompetent person who is unrepresented in an action.”

         2. At the time the First Amended Complaint was filed, A.V., M.V., W.V., and J.V., were minors and therefore their claims were brought by and through their mother and next friend, Tonia Verret. All four are still minors.

a. A.V. is currently sixteen years old. Her date of birth is February 1, 2002.
b. M.V. is currently thirteen years old. Her date of birth is December 12, 2004.
c. W.V. is currently nine years old. His date of birth is August 6, 2009.
d. J.V. is currently five years old. His date of birth is October 28, 2013.

         3. A settlement agreement has been achieved between all Plaintiffs and all Defendants which would resolve all of the claims in this case.

         4. Court approval of this confidential settlement is sought, and a Guardian Ad Litem is requested to assist the Court in this matter.

         5. The Guardian Ad Litem should be appointed to investigate on behalf of the Court the fairness and reasonableness of this confidential settlement and its effect upon the minor child.

         6. The Guardian Ad Litem shall serve as an “arm of the Court.” Under this appointment, the Guardian Ad Litem's duties are owed to the Court, and not to any party.

         7. The Guardian Ad Litem shall have access to all medical and other records of the children which are relevant to the issues in this case.

         8. Feliz A. Rael, Esq. is qualified to perform as Guardian Ad Litem, and has agreed to serve as ...


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