A clearly frustrated Davidson circuit court judge has ruled that former Public Guardian Jeanan Stuart must stand trial on charges in a civil suit that she engaged in willful misconduct in her role as the court appointed conservator for a Hendersonville woman.
"This is going on and on and on," Gayden said in a recent hearing. "Let's get this case going."
Franklin has charged that after her appointment Stuart engaged in "willful and malicious conduct" in her case by failing to act on her request to have the conservatorship ended.
During the same Dec. 12 hearing Gayden also ruled that Metro government could not be held liable for Stuart's actions. Stuart's lawyers had argued that Stuart was a Metro employee and thus was protected from claims under provisions of the Governmental Tort Liability Act. "
She was acting within the scope of her duties as an employee," said William Hubbard, Stuart's lawyer, according to a transcript of the session. But Michael Hoskins, Franklin's attorney, disagreed.
"It's clear that the legislature never intended to give some special immunity to the public guardian," he said, adding that previously Stuart had claimed immunity as a state employee.
Gayden later agreed with Hoskin's that even if the liability act did apply, the charges of willful and intentional misconduct would not be protected.
Hoskins and Metro attorney Jeff Campbell also noted that Stuart made her claim against Metro long after the statute of limitations had passed.
Gayden also granted Stuart's lawyer's motion to file an appeal of his rulings in the case.
Stuart stepped down as public guardian last year on the same day Probate Judge David "Randy" Kennedy stated that he would no longer appoint her to any cases because of questionable billing practices. Her job has remained vacant ever since.
Judge Rules Former Public Guardian Must Stand Trial