Court refuses to intervene in family disagreement over man's wrongful death settlement

By Charmaine Little | Nov 4, 2018

MIAMI — A court has ruled that it will not intervene in determining who will benefit from a $4.5 million wrong death settlement with the Florida Department of Corrections.

Andre Chapman’s lawsuit on behalf of his deceased brother, Darren Rainey, has been going back and forth in the courts since Rainey died in 2012. A mediator determined in January that the matter was settled, and a court closed the case, which involved claims that Rainey was discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

However, Chapman has continued to file petitions, seeking the court's intervention in determining heirs and allocating the settlement. Joyce Anderson, the mother of Rainey's also-deceased daughter, claimed that Chapman was "improperly asking this court to adjudicate that Andre and Renee Chapman are the sole persons entitled to the proceeds generated by this lawsuit," according to the Oct. 26 court order. Chapman has refused to release the settlement account in the meantime, it said.

The court said Chapman failed to explain why the court should go through this process, especially since the parties had already come to an agreement and settlement. It said his main point was that neither Anderson nor her daughter’s estate should be owed any part of the settlement. The court denied the request.

It also denied Anderson's request that the court intervene in the release of the settlement funds.

The court granted a third request, an order authorizing the release of settlement proceeds to Chapman's attorney, John R. Sutton.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. determined the matter at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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Florida Department of Corrections U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

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