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Name: People v. Vasquez
Case #: B218802
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 12/13/2010

The acceptance of a civil settlement and release/waiver of liability by a crime victim does not necessarily satisfy a restitution order. Appellant’s dog escaped from his residence and went to a neighboring school where it attacked a seventh-grade student. The student sustained extensive injuries requiring multiple surgeries. Appellant pled no contest to failure to control an animal and was granted probation. As a condition of probation, he was ordered to pay a stipulated amount of $168,633.20 in restitution for medical expenses suffered thus far, with any amount over the stipulated amount to be pursuant to civil judgment. The victim subsequently entered into a civil settlement for $300,000 from the property owner’s homeowner’s insurance, which covered appellant as an insured. Of that sum, $22,335 was identified as reimbursement for medical and other expenses incurred by the victim and her attorney. Following the settlement, appellant filed a motion for satisfaction of his restitution order. The trial court denied it. The appellate court upheld the denial, noting that restitution pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.4 does not preclude the crime victim from seeking a separate civil action from the same facts leading to the criminal conviction. In considering a request for satisfaction of a restitution order, a court must determine whether the defendant seeking the offset for an insurance-settlement payment is an insured on whose behalf the settlement payments were made. Here, appellant was not entitled to satisfaction of the entire restitution obligation because he failed to meet his burden in establishing that the $22,335 allocated in the civil settlement was for the medical expenses incurred by the victim that were included in the restitution order, as opposed to expenses incurred subsequent to the order.