JOSEPH SORACCO et al. v. WILLIAMS SCOTSMAN, INC., et al., SC 17856
Judicial District of New Haven
Torts; Allocation of Settlement Agreement Proceeds; Whether Trial Court Improperly Considered Facts Not In Evidence in Allocating Settlement Proceeds; Whether Trial Court Improperly Allowed Matter to Settle Without Intervening Plaintiff's Consent. While working for Manafort Brothers, Inc., Joseph Soracco sustained injuries at a construction site when he exited a trailer and, unbeknownst to him, the metal steps leading from the trailer door to the ground had been removed, causing him to fall. Soracco and his wife, Cheryl, subsequently commenced the present action against Williams Scotsman, Inc., the company that delivered the trailer and metal steps to the construction site. The complaint alleged that Williams Scotsman negligently removed the stairs from the trailer without first determining whether the trailer was in use. The complaint also set forth a cause of action for loss of consortium. Manafort Brothers later intervened in the matter, seeking to be reimbursed for the $542,411.29 in workers' compensation benefits that it paid to Soracco. The matter proceeded to mediation, and the Soraccos accepted a settlement offer of $750,000. The trial court then continued the matter for a hearing to determine how to allocate the settlement funds. At the hearing, the Soraccos' attorney asked the court to distribute fifty percent of the settlement funds to Cheryl for her loss of consortium claim. The intervening plaintiff objected to this request, indicating that it would not agree to a fifty percent distribution to Cheryl because if she received such a distribution, it would not be able to recover the entire $542,411.69 that it paid out in workers' compensation benefits. The trial court found that a fifty percent allocation to Cheryl was fair, just and reasonable. It therefore apportioned fifty percent of the settlement funds to Cheryl and fifty percent to the intervening plaintiff. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the trial court improperly considered facts not in evidence in apportioning the settlement proceeds. It will also determine whether the trial court improperly allowed the case to settle without the intervening plaintiff's consent.