|| Rules Note
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||Those filing petitions for Minor's Compromise
||Fresno Superior Court
||Petition and Order Requirements
||January 28, 2002
Effective January 1, 2002 the California Rules of Court were amended concerning petitions for orders compromising minor's claims. (See Rules 3.1384, 7.950, 7.951, 7.952, 7.953, 7.954.) These new rules must be complied with before the court order will issue an order compromising a minor's claim.
The court will continue to calendar a hearing date upon the filing of a petition for approval of a minor's compromise and will post a tentative ruling the day before the hearing in the same manner as a civil law and motion matter. (See CRC 3.1308 and Local Rule 2.8.4.)
If the petition and proposed order fully comply with the Rules of Court AND if the following additional information is provided, it is likely the court's tentative ruling will indicate that the order has been signed and the hearing vacated. The additional information is:
- County of residence of minor
- Statement of amount of insurance policy limits
- If insurance policy limits are being paid and value of minor's claim exceeds those limits, evidence of asset check of culpable party must be provided to court, along with statement by attorney that his/her investigation has not identified any other available insurance
- When applicable, a statement of reasons why an annuity/structured settlement is not being proposed/considered
- Statement by Petitioner that he/she requests the court approve the settlement and that he/she understands that court approval will render settlement final and binding on minor.
- Name of proposed trustee for blocked account and, if different from Petitioner, an explanation why Petitioner is not proposed trustee
ALL PROPOSED ORDERS SHALL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- Amount of net proceeds to be deposited
- Name and address of institution for deposit of funds
- Name of trustee for account
- Provision that money may only be released to minor upon attaining the age of 18 years (month, day and year of 18th birthday to be specified in order) or by court order
- Amounts to be paid to medical providers, lien claimants, attorney, parent, etc.
- Provision that a file-stamped copy of order will be provided to the institution at the time of deposit and that a receipt from the financial institution must be promptly filed with the court, acknowledging receipt of both the funds deposited and the order for deposit of funds. (CRC Rule 7.953(a).)
Frequently Asked Questions About Minor's Compromise
What Judicial Council forms must I file to obtain court approval for a Minorís Compromise?
- CIV - 010 Application and Order for Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem -- Civil; see also CCP 372, CCP 373
- MC-350 Petition to Approve Compromise of Claim
- MC-351 Order Approving Compromise of Claim
- MC-355 Order to Deposit Money into Blocked Account (This form is necessary only if some or all of the settlement monies will be deposited to a blocked account.)
What other Judicial Council forms may also be relevant to deposit or withdraw funds from a blocked account?
- MC-356 Receipt and Acknowledgment of Order for Deposit of Money into Blocked Account
- MC-357 Petition for Withdrawal of Funds from Blocked Account
- MC-358 Order for Withdrawal of Funds from Blocked Account
What general rules and statutes should I consult to verify that I have submitted all necessary information and followed proper procedures?
- CRC 7.950
- CRC 7.951
- Probate Code 3412, 3413, 3500, 3611.
- Local Rule 2.8.4 (A), (B), (C), (D)
- Civil Procedure 372, 373
What attorneyís fees are permissible under normal circumstances?
Please consult Local Rule 2.8.4 (D) and Business and Professions Code section 6146.
Must the Petition accurately describe the nature of the injury to the minor?
Yes, the Petition must provide a description of the nature and extent of the injury giving rise to the claim, with sufficient particularity to inform the court whether the injury is permanent or temporary (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 7.950(3).)
Must the Petition include as an attachment a doctorís note?
Yes, it is essential that the Petition include an original or a photocopy of a doctorís report containing a diagnosis of and prognosis for the injury, and a report of the claimant's present condition (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 7.950(4).)
What if the minorís injury occurred several years ago? Is it necessary to provide a current physicianís note?
Yes, CRC 7.950 (4) requires that the Petition include a report of the minorís PRESENT CONDITION. If the minor suffered serious injuries in January 2002 and the Petition only includes a medical report from January 2002, then the court cannot verify the minorís PRESENT CONDITION unless the Petition includes a CURRENT physicianís note.
What if the minor suffered different kinds of injuries? Is more than one physicianís note required?
Yes. If, for example, the minor suffered head injuries with possible brain damage and also sustained facial lacerations which have left some scarring, then the Petition should normally include one note from a physician qualified to evaluate head trauma and brain function as well as a separate note from a plastic surgeon qualified to evaluate the cost and feasibility of scar revision through surgery or other methods.
How and where can the minorís settlement monies be invested?
California statutes place certain restrictions on disposition of the settlement monies to be paid to the minor. The court is authorized by statute to order the money held under such conditions as the court in its discretion determines to be in the best interests of the minor.
Typically, pursuant to statute, the money is deposited into an INSURED account in a financial institution IN THIS STATE, or in a single-premium deferred ANNUITY, subject to withdrawal only upon authorization of the court. (See Probate Code, ßß 3412, 3413, 3500, 3611.)
If an annuity is selected, the Petitioner should submit a statement disclosing the schedule of payouts the minor will receive and the Petitioner should also submit evidence of the insurance ratings of the insurer which will be paying the annuity, so that the court may verify the insurerís solvency.
Must the Petitioner and the attorney who assisted Petitioner sign the Petition?
Yes. CRC 7.950 requires that the Petition be verified. The Judicial Council form MC-350 Petition includes signature lines for both the Petitioner and counsel. It is a very common error for Petitioner and/or counsel to forget to sign the Petition.
Must the Petitioner obtain a hearing date for the minorís compromise?
Will a tentative ruling be posted on the courtís website?
Yes. The tentative is normally available for viewing at 3:00 p.m. on the day before the hearing.
Must counsel, Petitioner, and the minor make a formal appearance at the hearing?
Please consult the tentative ruling that will be posted online the day before the hearing. Typically, neither counsel, Petitioner, nor the minor will need to appear in person. If the paperwork is in order, the court will typically publish a tentative indicating that the proposed orders have been signed and the hearing has been taken off calendar. If the paperwork contains defects, they will be noted in the tentative and Petitioner may be asked to file amended paperwork and obtain a NEW HEARING DATE for the amended Petition. In either event, appearances will normally not be necessary.
Must the Petition include a structured settlement?
Depending on the amount of the settlement and the age of the minor, the Petition should address the option of a structured settlement.
When must the Petition be filed?
The Petition, all attachments, and supporting papers should be filed at least two weeks prior to the hearing date, to allow the court sufficient time to process and review the papers.