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Damaso-Earing v. Oceanic Time Warner Cable, LLC

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

August 20, 2018

JOLEEN M. DAMASO-EARING, Plaintiff,
v.
OCEANIC TIME WARNER CABLE, LLC, and CYRUS DRIVER, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT DEFENDANT CYRUS DRIVER'S PETITION FOR APPROVAL OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT PURSUANT TO HRS § 663-15.5

          KENNETH J. MANSFIELD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Defendant Cyrus Driver (“Defendant Driver”) filed a “Petition for Approval of Good Faith Settlement Pursuant to HRS § 663-15.5” on June 29, 2018 (“Petition”). See ECF No. 56. The Petition seeks a determination of good faith settlement pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes section 663-15.5. See id. at 2. Defendants Oceanic Time Warner Cable LLC and Charter Communications LLC (collectively, “OTWC”) filed a Statement of No Opposition to the Petition on August 1, 2018. See ECF No. 66.

         Given the lack of any opposition to Defendant Driver's Petition, the Court elected to decide the Petition without a hearing pursuant to Rule 7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. After carefully considering the submissions of the parties and the relevant legal authority, the Court FINDS and RECOMMENDS that the district Court GRANT the Petition for the reasons set forth below.

         BACKGROUND

         This action arises from Plaintiff Joleen M. Damaso-Earing's (“Plaintiff”) employment with Defendant OTWC under the supervision of Defendant Driver, who was employed by OTWC as the Vice-President of Business Class Services. See ECF No. 19 at 4-5. Defendant Driver and Plaintiff reached a settlement on June 26, 2018. In the present Petition, Defendant Driver seeks: (1) a determination that the settlement entered into between Plaintiff and Defendant Driver was made in good faith pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes section 663-15.5; (2) a ruling that proper notice was given to all known joint tortfeasors and co-obligors in this action, and that Defendant Driver fully satisfied all of the notice requirements of section 663-15.5; and (3) a ruling that Defendant Driver is fully and completely discharged from any and all liability for any contribution and/or indemnification from any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor. ECF No. 56-1 at 4.

         DISCUSSION

         A finding of good faith settlement (1) discharges the settling party from liability for contribution to other joint tortfeasors, (2) reduces a plaintiff's claims against joint tortfeasors by the amount stipulated to in the release or in the amount of the consideration paid for it, whichever is greater, (3) bars other joint tortfeasors from further claims against the settling joint tortfeasor, except where there is a written indemnity agreement, and (4) results in dismissal of all crossclaims against the settling joint tortfeasor, except where there is a written indemnity agreement. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 663-15.5(a), (d). In determining whether parties have entered into a good faith settlement, the court must consider the “totality of the circumstances, ” including:

(1) the type of case and difficulty of proof at trial . . .;
(2) the realistic approximation of total damages that the plaintiff seeks;
(3) the strength of the plaintiff's claim and the realistic likelihood of his or her success at trial;
(4) the predicted expense of litigation;
(5) the relative degree of fault of the settling tortfeasors;
(6) the amount of consideration paid to settle the claims;
(7) the insurance policy limits and solvency of the joint ...

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