LANSING - In an unprecedented move, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a notice late last week to intervene on behalf of the people of the State of Michigan in a controversial guardianship case in Macomb County.
Nessel's action comes less than a month after she and Supreme Court Justices Megan Cavanagh and Richard Bernstein wrapped up the last of a 12-stop statewide Elder Abuse Listening Tour. The single most frequent complaint heard was that regarding guardianships, said Nessel.
"It is absolutely incumbent on the courts to ensure that the state's guardianship system is providing properly for the vulnerable and that the court-appointed conservators fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to those in their custody," said Nessel. "That does not appear to be happening in the case of Caring Hearts, which was appointed by Judge Kathryn George as guardian and conservator for Robert Lee Mitchell and Barbara Delbridge."
The appointment of an outside guardianship company was done despite a petition submitted by the daughter and stepdaughter of the couple.
Of significant concern to the Attorney General is the web of connections between Caring Hearts of Michigan, Inc., a guardian agency owned by Catherine Kirk, and two companies also owned in part by Kirk or her husband – Executive Care, a 24-hour in-home care company, and Kirk, Huth, Lange and Badalamenti, PLS, a law firm owned by Kirk's husband. Caring Hearts hired Executive Care to provide in-home care for Mitchell and Delbridge. Legal counsel for the couple was – again at the direction of Caring Hearts – provided by Kirk's husband's law firm.
More on Michimich.com
- MI Symptoms Web Application Helps Michiganders Track Symptoms; Informs Reopening Strategy
- Michigan regional jobless rates surge in April with COVID-19 pandemic
- Michigan: Lawmakers Sponsor Upcoming Auto Insurance Town Halls
- STARK Industries, LLC Awarded NASA JPL - VITAL Ventilator Manufacturing License to Combat the Global COVID-19 Crisis
- Proposed 2020-21 Sterling Heights Budget Funds Critical Needs with No Tax Increase
"The law is very clear on this issue," said Nessel. "The Court shall not appoint as guardian an agency, public or private, that financially benefits from directly providing housing, medical, mental health, or social services to the legally incapacitated individual. In fact, the Estates and Protected Individuals Code specifically prohibits certain financial self-dealing by the guardian with respect to the ward."
Nessel gave a shout-out to WXYZ-TV reporter Heather Catallo for her investigative work that brought this issue to light, saying, "Catallo's work is an excellent example of the incredible importance of journalism in our society."
The case now proceeds into discovery where the parties can seek information as well as file additional motions. Chief Judge James M. Biernat, 16th Circuit Court, set January 10, 2020 for a settlement conference and end of discovery.
A copy of the notice of intervention can be read here.
Latest on Michimich.com
- 626 acquires the assets of Innovatus CR and DR Business. The World Slows Down. We Move Faster
- R+M Development Closes on Refinance of Student Housing Project Amidst Pandemic
- Teenage mariachi ensemble records album during pandemic, keeping social distancing guidelines
- FOURMIDABLE Again Recognized on 'Affordable 100' List
- Getman Takes his Popular Book Fairs into the Virtual World Transforming the Way Buyers Meet Sellers of Rare Books, Maps, Prints and Ephemera
- Flagstar Changes 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting to Virtual Attendance
- Teleroute, Part of Alpega Group, launches an API Interface and a new Mobile App to help their growing number of customers work even more efficiently
- Michigan: 2020 Bay Region Flooding - Map with Photos
- Michigan Will Add Online Purchasing, Free "Quarantine Care Kits"; Additional supports provided for people who need to stay home
- Space Cadet Launches A Flower Sniffer's Book Of Paper Craft to Ward off Boredom Better Than Binging TV
- Michigan: State leaders urge residents with water bill payment concerns to contact local water departments and state assistance programs
- Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Offers Insurance Tips to Michigan Residents Following Mid-Michigan Flooding
- Michigan: Regulated utilities extend protections, assistance for vulnerable households to June 12
- Sterling Heights: Summer Reading
- Gauging Your Aging Parent's Safe Driving Abilities After The Holiday Weekend Reunion
- Launching OneQuantum LLC the Quantum Tech startup community
- OrPro Therapeutics Advances a New Inhalation Treatment Approach for COVID-19
- Michigan: M-40 resurfacing begins Monday at the Van Buren/Allegan county line
- Health Insurance Enrollment Deadlines Approaching for Michiganders who Lost Job or Experienced a Drop in Income
- Michigan: Secretary of State branch offices to reopen June 1 by appointment only