By Walter F. Roche Jr
Davidson's former Public Guardian, Jeanan Stuart, and lawyers for Metro
are battling each other in a suit brought by a woman who was placed in a
conservatorship without her knowledge while recovering from serious
Stuart's lawyers contend their client was acting as a Metro employee and
should be protected from any liability under a state law, the Tennessee
Governmental Tort Liability Act, limiting the claims that can be filed
against a government agency or individual employees.
"She was elected by Metro Council," a recent filing states, adding that
she also was issued a Metro employee ID badge and Metro provided her
with bond coverage.
Stuart resigned from her post last year simultaneous with an
announcement by Probate Judge David "Randy" Kennedy that he would no
longer appoint her in any conservatorship cases.
In the Franklin case, Stuart's lawyers filed papers naming Metro
government as a third party defendant. Metro countered charging that
the statute of limitations had run out by the time the claim was made
and that Stuart's alleged actions fell outside of those that can be
protected under governmental immunity.
"Contrary to Metro's assertions the complaint alleges breaches of
fiduciary duty for which Metro would be liable," a recent filing by
Robyn E. Smith, Stuart's lawyer, states, adding that Stuart should be
"Metro government also gratuitously asserts that the complaint alleges
only intentional torts for which it would not be liable," the filing
In its latest filing Metro lawyers state that while they still want the
case dismissed, if it does continue that "discovery be limited to
ascertaining the employment status of Ms. Stuart."
Citing a prior ruling in the case by Judge Hamilton Gayden, Metro lawyer
Jeff Campbell stated in a filing that the court's original decision to
deny proceeding under Governmental Tort Liability Act was "correct."
In another filing seeking dismissal of the claims against Metro,
government lawyers argued that "absent an allegation of direct
negligence on the part of a supervisor of Ms. Stuart, the government
maintains its immunity for intentional torts."
Franklin's lawyer, Michael G. Hoskins, in response to Stuart's move to
invoke the governmental immunity statute wrote, "The Metro government
did not have any authority to direct or supervise defendants actions as
Full Article & Source:
Former Public Guardian, Metro in Court Faceoff