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Becky L. Utley and Lynn C. ) Goacher, As Co-Executors of the Estate of Charles R. Goacher, and Special Co-Administrators of the v. United States of America

October 30, 2012

BECKY L. UTLEY AND LYNN C. ) GOACHER, AS CO-EXECUTORS OF THE ESTATE OF CHARLES R. GOACHER, AND SPECIAL CO-ADMINISTRATORS OF THE ESTATE OF PATRICIA SUE GOACHER,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, COUNTERCLAIM PLAINTIFF,
v.
BECKY L. UTLEY AND LYNN C. GOACHER, AS CO-EXECUTORS OF THE ESTATE OF CHARLES R. GOACHER, DECEASED, PLAINTIFFS/COUNTER-DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED

Tuesday, 30 October, 2012 03:32:16 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Pending before the Court is the Motion for Good Faith Finding filed by the Estate of Charles R. Goacher, a Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant.

I.

On July 6, 2011, Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants Becky L. Utley and Lynn C. Goacher, as co-executors of the Estate of Charles R. Goacher (Mr. Goacher), deceased, and special co-administrators of the Estate of Patricia Sue Goacher (Mrs. Goacher), filed a Complaint against the United States Postal Service*fn1 , wherein they asserted claims for personal injuries, property damage, and wrongful death arising out of a fatal motor vehicle collision in Morgan County, Illinois. Becky L. Utley and Lynn C. Goacher are the only children of Mr. And Mrs. Goacher.

This action arises out of an occurrence in which Mr. and Mrs. Goacher were on a motorcycle. Mr. Goacher was driving and Mrs. Goacher was the passenger. Their motorcycle was approaching the intersection of Woodson Road and Route 67 traveling from east to west. A vehicle driven by Travis Kinstle, an employee of the United States of America, was heading south on Route 67. There was a collision between the vehicles. Mr. and Mrs. Goacher were killed as a result of this collision.

On September 22, 2011, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff United States of America filed its Answer and Counterclaim for Contribution against the Counter-Defendants, Becky L. Utley and Lynn C. Goacher, as co-executors of the Estate of Charles R. Goacher.

In its Counterclaim, the United States denies any liability for the June 1, 2008, motor vehicle collision and seeks contribution from the Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants pursuant to the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act, 740 ILCS 100/2, for any damages that the United States is found liable to pay due to the collision. It alleges that, as Co-Executors of the Estate of Mr. Goacher, the Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants are liable in contribution for the death of Mrs. Goacher.

On August 10, 2012, the Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant filed a motion for good faith finding as to a settlement.

II.

In support of its motion, the Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant states that a settlement has been reached at which time the insurance funds available on behalf of Mr. Goacher were tendered to the Co-Special Administrators of the Estate of Mrs. Goacher to settle and resolve this claim in contribution. The available insurance limits are $100,000.00 through Mr. Goacher's Foremost Insurance Policy number 2760071504410. In Illinois, there is a family member exclusion so there is no coverage under Part A of this policy. However, pursuant to Part C, under insured motorists coverage is applicable. Moreover, the Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant notes that all parties are represented by counsel and assert that the settlement between the Estate of Mr. Goacher and the Estate of Mrs. Goacher is fair, reasonable, and in good faith within the meaning of 740 ILCS 100/2(c).

The Estate of Mrs. Goacher signed a Release releasing the Estate of Mr. Goacher from any further liability for any wrongful death damages. Citing Bowers v. Murphy & Miller, Inc., 272 Ill. App.3d 606, 609 (1st Dist. 1995), the Plaintiff/Counter-Defendants argue that Illinois public policy favors the compromise and settlement of claims and a presumption of the validity of the settlement or release agreement arises by the mere existence of an agreement.

On that basis, the Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant asks the Court to find that the settlement reached between the Estates of Mr. and Mrs. Goacher is fair, reasonable, and in good faith as required by 740 ILCS 100/2. Moreover, it asks the Court to find the settlement between the Estates of Mr. and Mrs. Goacher discharges the Estate of Mr. Goacher from all liability and any contribution to any join tortfeasor pursuant to 740 ILCS 100/2(d). Accordingly, the Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant asserts the ...


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