United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
LEE SIMS, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Renee Nicole Kelley Plaintiff,
DAVITA ACCOUNTABLE CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC d/b/a DaVita Sylacauga Dialysis Center, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
motions are before the court concerning who should receive
the proceeds of the settlement reached in this wrongful death
case. But first some history. Plaintiff, the estate of Renee
Nicole Kelley, filed suit against DaVita Accountable Care
Solutions, alleging that Defendant was responsible for Mrs.
Kelley's wrongful death. (Doc. 1-1). At the time
Plaintiff brought the suit, Mrs. Kelley's husband, Daniel
Bryan Kelley, was the Personal Representative of her estate.
In October 2016, Mr. Kelley passed away, and the probate
court substituted Lee Sims as the Personal Representative of
Mrs. Kelley's estate; this court followed suit. (Doc.
23). On August 9, 2017, the parties reached a confidential
settlement agreement. (Doc. 28 at 2).
motions now before the court are Plaintiff's
“Motion for Determination of Settlement Disbursement,
” (doc. 28); non-party Shannon Ray Kelley's
“Motion to be Included as Beneficiary of Settlement
Disbursement, ” (doc. 37); and non-party Danielle
Beasley's “Motion Re Distribution of Wrongful Death
Recovery, ” (doc. 38). Plaintiff seeks to have this
court declare the proper beneficiary or beneficiaries of the
settlement agreement in this case. (Doc. 28). Mr. Sims
identified five potential beneficiaries of the settlement
Linda Wilcoxon, mother of Renee Kelley
Carl Lattimer,  father of Renee Kelley
Danielle Beasley, daughter of Bryan Kelley and stepdaughter
of Renee Kelley
Marvin Kelley, father of Bryan Kelley
Wanda Kelley, mother of Bryan Kelley
(Doc. 28 at 2). The court notified each potential beneficiary
of the existence of the settlement agreement and the motion
for determination of the settlement disbursement. (Doc. 29).
the court notified the potential beneficiaries, Shannon Ray
Kelley, the Personal Representative of Mr. Kelley's
estate, filed a “Motion to be Included as Beneficiary
of Settlement Disbursement, ” (doc. 37), and Mrs.
Beasley filed a “Motion Re Distribution of Wrongful
Death Recovery, ” (doc. 38). Each seeks to have this
court declare that Mr. Kelley's estate is one of the
proper beneficiaries of the settlement disbursement. (Docs.
37, 38). In addition, Mrs. Kelley's parents responded,
contending that under Alabama law, they are the sole
beneficiaries of the settlement proceeds. (Doc. 36).
court DENIES Shannon Ray Kelley's and Mrs. Beasley's
motions, GRANTS Plaintiff's motion, and ORDERS
Plaintiff's Personal Representative to distribute the
settlement proceeds to Mrs. Kelley's parents, Linda
Wilcoxon and Carl Lattimer.
wrongful death statute provides that “[t]he damages
recovered are not subject to the payment of the debts or
liabilities of the testator or intestate, but must be
distributed according to the statute of distributions.”
Ala. Code § 6-5-410(c). When Mrs. Kelley died, her
spouse and her parents survived her, but she had no issue,
i.e., no children. The statute of distributions
provides that if a spouse survives the decedent, The
intestate share of the surviving spouse is as follows:
(1) If there is no surviving issue or parent of the decedent,
the entire intestate estate; [and]
(2) If there is no surviving issue but the decedent is
survived by a parent or parents, the first $100, 000.00 in
value, plus one-half of the balance ...