An Indiana woman has been granted guardianship of her father after waging a two-month court battle against Manatee County’s public guardian. She hopes to have him home for Thanksgiving.
Manatee County Circuit Judge Paul E. Logan appointed Beverly R. Newman guardian of her father, 89-year-old Al Katz, in a ruling Monday.
Newman and her husband, Lawrence T. Newman, had petitioned the court for control of Katz’s health care decision-making since Sept. 18, when Bradenton’s Aging Safely was awarded emergency temporary guardianship after Katz was taken to the hospital with “confusion, agitation and bronchitis,” according to court documents.
The Newmans objected to Aging Safely’s emergency guardianship, saying the elder advocate failed to list Beverly Newman as Katz’s next of kin in court papers. They said they were Katz’s primary caretakers intermittently from 2002 to 2008.
An often contentious court battle ensued during which the Newmans accused Aging Safely and Katz’s court-appointed health care representative, Jackie Steuerwald of Indiana, of failing to provide adequate care. Aging Safely in turn testified that Katz did not want to see his daughter.
Logan awarded Beverly Newman the right to visit her father for three hours per day over objections from Aging Safely in an Oct. 16 ruling.
“As a guardian, we really had no choice but to do what Mr. Katz said he wanted,” Aging Safely representative Ashley Butler said Tuesday. “Everybody stepped up and did what they thought was best for Mr. Katz.”
Beverly Newman said she and her father get along well and that it was the influence of his girlfriend and caretakers that briefly strained their relationship.
While Logan appointed Beverly Newman guardian of Katz, he awarded control of Katz’s property to Herbert G. Schimmel, a Sarasota family counselor chosen by the Newmans. That’s because the Newmans sued Katz in 2008 over belongings that were locked in his home in Indianapolis.
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