A friendly suit is “the lawsuit filed by a party against another, who has consented to the outcome of the case, with an intention to get a recorded order of the court, for the actions already agreed between them.” The cases that usually turn into friendly suits are those that, for one reason or another, will not be binding without a court order and are therefore brought before a judge without the intention to actually contend over the result.
Because the injured party was not of legal age to approve the settlement reached on their behalf, the two parties brought a friendly suit so that a judge might approve their deal.
A child is injured in a car accident because their legally intoxicated driver swerved into the wrong lane. The child’s parents retain legal representation and come to a settlement with the intoxicated motorist, but cannot legally speak for the injured child. So the minor’s representative (“next friend”) and the at-fault party, with a conclusion already in mind, go to court to get their settlement approved. The court appoints a guardian ad litem for the minor, who then determines whether or not the settlement is within the best interest of their ward. If the guardian ad litem finds the terms of the agreement satisfactory, they will report the same to the judge, who can then make the settlement legally binding.
Other Important Information
While a minor injury victim has the option of a friendly suit, if this course of action is not followed, they may also file their own claim when they are of legal age. Friendly suits may also be the modus operandi of businesses wanting to clarify the terms of a contract between them or of the executor of a deceased individual’s estate to “compel the creditors to take an equal distribution of the assets of the estate.”