Court approval should be sought for settling any case involving a minor (or disabled person), regardless of whether a lawsuit has already been filed or a compromise reached without litigation. T.C.A. sec. 34-1-121 gives the court power to approve the settlement and to waive the usual requirements of guardianship if the court determines it is in the best interests of the minor. The court’s approval binds the minor to the terms of the settlement. Approval is available whether the minor is the injured plaintiff, a defendant promising some performance, or entitled to receive some or all of the proceeds of a wrongful death settlement.
This Order Approving Minor’s Settlement is from a medical malpractice case in which the infant suffered permanent injuries, including cerebral palsy, due to birth trauma. While you may need to incorporate the terms of a trust or other structured settlement (as we did through a separate order in this case), this Order sets forth the basics for a court to approve the terms of the settlement, order the defendants to make the payments outlined in the settlement, approve the attorneys’ fee and expenses, and approve any payments for subrogation interests.