United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
IRENE WARREN KENT, Administratrix of the Estate of Michele Quantele Smiley, Plaintiff,
VAN DUNCAN, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Buncombe County; WESTERN SURETY COMPANY, as surety for the Sheriff; CHARLES J. WILHELM, in his official and individual capacity; JEFFREY LEON LITTRELL, in his official and individual capacity; THOMAS CHRISTOPHER “CHRIS” BARBER, in his official and individual capacity; RYAN PATRICK ZABLOUDIL, in his official and individual capacity; MICHAEL CORN, in his official and individual capacity; EDWARD F. PARKER, in his official and individual capacity; MEGHAN T. RIDDLE, in her official and individual capacity; TINA COX MILLER, LPN; and SOUTHEAST CORRECTIONAL MEDICAL GROUP, PLLC, Defendants.
ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT WITH MEDICAL
REIDINGER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion to
Approve Partial Wrongful Death Settlement, with Medical
Defendants [Docs. 61, 62 (redacted)].
a wrongful death action brought by the Plaintiff Irene Warren
Kent, as the Administratrix of the Estate of Michele Quantele
Smiley. The Plaintiff's claims arise from the
Defendants' alleged failure to provide Ms. Smiley with
emergency medical treatment and/or transportation to the
hospital for such treatment while she was experiencing a
severe drug overdose, which resulted in her death, during her
detention at the Buncombe County Detention Center.
Specifically, the Plaintiff has alleged that Defendant Tina
Cox Miller, a Licensed Practical Nurse employed by Southeast
Correctional Medical Group, PLLC (hereinafter “the
Medical Defendants”) (1) failed to comply with the
accepted standard of care for her healthcare profession in
the same or similar communities in regard to her medical
treatment of Ms. Smiley; and (2) failed to provide
appropriate and necessary medical services while acting under
color of state law in violation of Ms. Smiley's
Fourteenth Amendment right to reasonably adequate medical
Plaintiff has reached a settlement agreement with the Medical
Defendants. The Plaintiff now seeks court approval of that
settlement, as five of the six beneficiaries of the
agreements are minor children. See N.C. Gen. Stat. §
December 18, 2019, this matter came on for final hearing
before the Court. Present at the proceeding were counsel for
the Plaintiff; counsel for the Medical Defendants; counsel
for the County Defendants; the Plaintiff Irene Warren Kent,
as administratrix of the Estate of Michele Quantele Smiley
and as legal guardian of the minor children; Roy Kent, as
legal guardian of the minor children; and the guardian ad
litem for the minor children, John C. Cloninger. Prior to the
hearing, the Court reviewed the following with respect to the
Motion to Approve Settlement with the Medical Defendants: (1)
the Release of Administratrix, Consent of Beneficiaries to
Confidential Settlement, and Indemnity Agreement, and
exhibits thereto [Docs. 62-1, 62-2, 62-3, 62-4]; (2) the
Affidavit of Irene W. Kent and exhibits thereto [Docs. 62-5,
62-6, 62-7, 62-8]; (3) the Second Affidavit of John C.
Cloninger [Doc. 62-9]; (4) the Affidavit of George B. Hyler,
Jr., counsel for the Plaintiff, and exhibit thereto [Docs.
62-10, 62-11]; (5) the Affidavit of John M. Olesiuk counsel
for the Plaintiff [Doc. 62-12]; and (6) the Memorandum of
Settlement executed by the Plaintiff and the Medical
Defendants on September 10, 2019 [Doc. 69].
on the Court's document review and based on the
statements at the hearing by counsel for the parties, the
Plaintiff, Mr. Kent, and Mr. Cloninger as guardian ad litem,
the Court makes the following FINDINGS OF FACT:
Michele Smiley was 34 years old at the time of her death. She
is survived by six children: Trenton Fleming, age nineteen,
and five minor children (S.F., age sixteen; S.F., age
fifteen; B.F., age twelve; L.F., age ten; A.N., age
Plaintiff Irene Warren Kent is Ms. Smiley's grandmother,
and she is the duly appointed administratrix of Ms.
Smiley's estate. She also serves, along with her husband
Roy Kent, as legal guardian of Ms. Smiley's five minor
the hearing held on December 18, 2019, the Plaintiff
acknowledged that she:
(a) has read the settlement documents filed in this matter,
including the Release of Administratrix, Consent of
Beneficiaries to Confidential Settlement, and Indemnity
Agreement, and the Memorandum of Settlement, and that she
understands and assents to the terms thereof.
(b) has had an adequate opportunity to confer with her
counsel regarding her decision to settle this matter.
(c) understands that the settlement documents propose that
certain consideration be paid for the benefit of the minor
(d) believes, in her capacity as legal guardian for the minor
children, that the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable
for the minor children under the circumstances of this case,
particularly as to the nature of the settlement, the amount
of monetary payments to be made under ...