On Friday, the Orlando Sentinel reported a new development in the case of Trayvon Martin: Martin's parents have settled a wrongful death claim that is believed to be worth more than $1 million against their Sanford subdivision where Trayvon was shot and killed by self-annointed sheriff of suburbia, George Zimmerman.
In the five pages of the claim made public on Friday, the settlement amount had been blacked out, and the Sentinel couldn't get Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon's parents, to comment on the rumored seven-figure sum. Representatives for the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhomes in Sanford, the subdivision Trayvon was shot and killed in, also declined to comment on the settlement, though the Sentinel did speak with Robert Taylor, an attorney who represents homeowner's associations such as the Retreat at Twin Lakes. He explained that the Twin Lakes homeowner's association most likely decided to settle in view of the fact that Zimmerman was serving as a volunteer in the Neighborhood Watch. "When claims are filed," said Taylor, who has no affiliation with the Retreat at Twin Lakes, "they're filed against anybody who could possibly have any culpability."
Although the association did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, Taylor thinks the association looked at the situation in the cold, reptilian terms of "risk-versus-reward," which is as close to an admission that Zimmerman acted way beyond the bounds of his authority as neighborhood volunteer as we'll probably ever get. The association's insurer, Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America, had asked a federal court in August to clarify its liability in the Trayvon Martin case, but the suit was dropped in November. In a prepared statement, Travelers insisted "is not a party to the settlement," and according to federal court records, the policy for the Retreat at Twin Lakes had a $1 million limit, which went into effect Mar. 30, 2012, a few weeks after Trayvon Martin was shot. Trayvon's mother then filed a claim with the insurer after the policy went into effect.
According to a February interview with Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara, Trayvon's parents had tried to settle through mediation and either the homeowner's association or its insurer offered $1 million, an amount the parents apparently rejected.
Trayvon Martin's parents settle wrongful death claim [Orlando Sentinel]