ESTATE OF SHARON DUFFY, Deceased — The administrator, one of the decedent's daughters, seeks to remove the restrictions contained in her limited letters of administration so that she may distribute the settlement proceeds of a wrongful death action settled in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Polster, J.). The settlement is subject to a confidentiality agreement that was "so ordered" by the U.S. District Court judge. In order to maintain the required confidentiality, the federal court order and the papers on which it was based were submitted to this court in a separate sealed envelope for an in camera inspection and were not placed in the file or scanned.
The decedent died intestate on September 27, 2007. In addition to the petitioner, the decedent's distributees are two other children who consent to application. The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance also consents to the relief requested. A similar application was approved previously.
A review of the federal court order reveals that it provides, inter alia, for payment of all known claims, legal fees, costs of litigation, reimbursement of attorneys' disbursements, commissions to the administrator and distribution of the net distributable proceeds to the decedent's distributees. Under these circumstances, the court is not passing upon any aspect of the settlement and is solely removing the SCPA 702 (1) restrictions so that the petitioner will not be in violation of this court's February 9, 2009 decree by receiving and distributing the settlement proceeds pursuant to the sealed order of the federal court. Accordingly, the application to remove the SCPA 702 (1) restrictions is granted. Upon entry of the decree, the Chief Clerk shall mail the envelope with the confidential materials to counsel for the petitioner.
December 4, 2012