Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 60

Summary of Decision May 15, 2013

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-12-0209


Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Michael K. Davis, Judge

Representing Appellant: Mitchell E. Osborn, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: No appearance.

Date of Decision: May 15, 2013

Facts: The district court entered orders appointing Richard Brown as guardian and conservator for Robert A. Sands. Mr. Sands sought to terminate the guardianship and the district court denied his petition. Six months later, however, the district court held a review hearing and terminated the guardianship. Mr. Brown filed a motion for attorney fees and costs and the district court reopened the guardianship for the purpose of deciding the motion. Before the motion was heard, Mr. Sands filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Brown had breached his duties. After a hearing, the district court entered an order ruling in favor of Mr. Brown on Mr. Sands’ complaint and awarding Mr. Brown and his attorney fees and costs. Mr. Sands appealed claiming the district court erred when it denied his petition to terminate the guardianship, reopened the guardianship for the purpose of awarding fees and costs and dismissed his complaint.

Issues: We rephrase the issues Mr. Sands presents as follows:

1. Whether the district court properly continued the guardianship and conservatorship of Mr. Sands over his objection and the objections of this family members.

2. Whether the evidence supports the district court’s holding that Mr. Brown substantially complied with the guardianship and conservatorship statutes and did not breach his fiduciary duties.

3. Whether the district court properly ruled on the matters asserted in Mr. Sands’ complaint at the final hearing on Mr. Brown’s petition for fees and costs.

Mr. Brown did not file a brief in this Court.

Holdings: At no time during the hearing did Mr. Sands’ counsel object to the proceedings. To the contrary, he voluntarily participated in the proceedings when, in response to the court’s statement that somebody had to address the misconduct issue and maybe it should be the party alleging it, counsel stated he “would be glad to go first” and proceeded to make an opening statement and call and examine witnesses to testify in an effort to prove Mr. Brown’s misconduct. Even when the district court stated that it intended to enter judgment and informed counsel that he had been “completely heard,” no objection was made. Likewise, when the district court made its ruling, counsel did not object. The Court held that any claim of error in the proceedings was waived by counsel’s unequivocal manifestation of intent to participate and failure to object. Affirmed.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

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