On February 12, lawyers representing Abebe Isaac reached a settlement agreement with the city of Philadelphia following his fatal shooting by a Philadelphia police officer. The shooting occurred while the police officer was in hot pursuit of a man who was considered armed and dangerous. After the man entered a home in East Germantown and pointed a gun at police, the officers opened fire, discharging 11 bullets. Stray bullets entered the home and injured three people. Mr. Isaac later died of his wounds. A Pearcelawfirm.com attorney, who represented Mr. Isaac’s family in the matter, stated that he hopes the $1.8 million settlement will be used to support Mr. Isaac’s three children who were left fatherless.
When the beneficiaries of such a settlement are minors, The Pearce Law Firm lawyers should be aware that both the Common Pleas Court and Orphans’ Court must approve the settlement. According to the Orphans’ Court website, it “serves to protect the personal and property rights of all persons and entities that may not be otherwise capable of handling their own affairs.” This group is not limited to orphaned children, but also includes incapacitated persons, decedents’ estates, nonprofits and trusts. Orphans’ Court is charged with acting in the “best interest” of the children or incapacitated individual or other entities under its jurisdiction and couch its approval with several conditions on the distribution of the settlement award. The Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure guide the allocation of settlement funds to minors. If the net proceeds are less than $10,000, the defendant may make a direct payment to the minor or his guardian. In the case of Mr. Isaac’s family, the settlement will likely be deposited into a savings account in the minor’s name. Unless authorized by the court, no withdrawals on the account are allowed until the minor reaches the age of 18, at which point he receives all proceeds of the settlement award.