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Trayvon Martin family settles lawsuit

SANFORD, Fla. - Trayvon Martin’s parents have settled a wrongful death claim for an amount believed to be more than $1 million against the homeowners association of the Sanford subdivision where their teenage son was killed.

Their attorney, Benjamin Crump, filed that paperwork at the Seminole County Courthouse, a portion of which was made public Friday.

In the five pages of the settlement that were available for public review, the settlement amount had been marked out. Lower in the agreement, the parties specified that they would keep that amount confidential.

When asked during an earlier interview whether the amount was higher than $1 million, Crump said: “I have no comment on that subject . I know you did not get that from me.”

Trayvon was shot to death by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman at the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhomes in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman served as head of the Neighborhood Watch and called police that evening, describing Trayvon as suspicious. He has said the teen attacked him and he fired in self-defense.

The homeowners association president, Don O’Brien, did not return phone calls from the Orlando Sentinel about the settlement. Neither did its attorney, Thomas R. Slaten Jr.

The association’s insurer, Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. of America, filed suit in federal court in August, asking a judge to clarify its liability in the case, but that suit was dropped a few months later.

The Travelers’ attorney handling the case, John Catizone, did not return phone calls.

During an interview in February, Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said Trayvon’s parents had made a wrongful death claim against the homeowners association. They had tried to settle through mediation, he said, and the association or its insurer had offered $1 million but Trayvon’s parents had rejected that amount.

O’Mara said the two parties then renewed talks and agreed to settle several months ago.

The portion of the settlement made public Friday also had been edited to eliminate the names of the parties and people making payment.

“It is understood and agreed that the payment made herein is not to be construed as an admission of any liability by or on behalf of the releasing parties; but instead the monies being paid hereunder is consideration for avoiding litigation, the uncertainties stemming from litigation as well as to protect and secure the good name and good will of the released parties,” the settlement said.

Under the terms of the settlement, Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and his estate, agreed to set aside their wrongful death claim and claims for pain and suffering, loss of earnings and expenses.

Crump has made clear that he intends to file suit later against Zimmerman, and the settlement spelled out that Zimmerman was not part of this deal.

Crump provided a copy of the settlement to O’Mara’s office and the judge Thursday, according to a cover page attached to the settlement that was placed in the case file. It was not immediately clear whether in those versions the settlement amount was blacked out as well.

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©2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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