Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

My sister filed a suit against a doctor and a hospital for performing an unnecessary heart surgery on my mother in 1997. Many people filed the same suit. I and my siblings were named as heirs in a Declaration As to heirs and successor in interest. the matter was settled out of court, and the settlement agreement was not filed in court in 2006. The attorney for the case will not give me a copy of the suit. I need to know how I can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement as I want to take it to an attorney, in this area, for advice.

NOTE FOR EDIFICATION: My mother survived the surgery and lived another 6 years (until 2003). She did not die from heart problems. I was not a party to the action, however, I was the executrix of the will. My mother really had no money (only a small mobile home and person property). She noted in her will that her mobile could be sold unless I wanted to live in it (She had put my name on the title). She noted monies owed to siblings but stated they had told her to keep it, except the sister (who filed the suit) whom mom did not note any money being owed as she never helped her. My mother lived with me when she had her surgery, and I and friends from the church took care of her after surgery. My sister did not talk to my mother for 3 years before she died.

Asked on 7/31/12, 6:33 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

George Shers Law Offices of Georges H. Shers

Your sister suing for her own injuries would have no case as the damages were to your mother, so there should be no settlement as to her claim unless she was filing with a power of attorney or guardianship for your mother. You need to be sure what actually happened. You have to go to the court in which the suit was filed and look up the case, but the court's file may just have a note that the matter was settled and not what the terms were. You could try to insist to her attorney that you are entitled to see the documents because you were the executor of the will, but it has been a long time and the attorney may ask how it is relevant.

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Answered on 7/31/12, 6:42 pm

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