Monday, April 12, 2010

Sun Valley Group Has the Nerve to Ask Judge to Sanction Marie Long's Attorneys

A Maricopa County probate judge has been asked to punish a pair of attorneys in the case of the old lady who was worth $1.3 million and now depends on taxpayers for support.

No, it's not the attorneys who collected tens and even hundreds of thousands dollars from the old lady's trust who could be in trouble.

It's the attorneys who worked for free, the ones who tried to stop the wholesale draining of Marie Long's account, who could be on the hook.

Sun Valley Group is asking that attorneys Pat Gitre and Dan Raynak be sanctioned and ordered to pay $13,518 of the company's legal fees for suing Sun Valley.

This, apparently, is what you get in probate for trying to advocate for a defenseless widow.

Meanwhile, there is a glimmer of good news for Marie, who came under the protection of probate court after having a stroke in 2005. She may have a shot at getting some of her money back. It seems Pro-tem Judge Lindsay Ellis slipped up and didn't approve the final $66,000 Sun Valley contends it's owed -- for 13 months of guardian work in December 2008 and 2009 – before washing her hands of the case last month. She also didn't approve nearly $38,000 requested by one of Sun Valley's attorneys for work in the 10 months before Marie's trust was finally sucked dry. This, according to the court commissioner who inherited the case.

It now appears that Ellis only allowed a small army of probate “protectors” to collect $786,000 from the old lady -- fees Ellis deemed “reasonable, necessary and for the benefit of the ward” – not the nearly $890,000 as originally thought.

Full Article and Source:
Probate Court Asked to Sanction Attorneys in Marie Long Case

See Also:
Review of Probate Court Ordered

Editor's Note: [Reporter Laurie] Roberts' sister, Appellate Court Judge Ann Timmer, is chairing a committee to review Probate Court practices. The Republic is disclosing the relationship to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.


StandUp said...

Good grief, this case sounds like it's from another planet, doesn't it? But it's not. It's happening here to innocent and vulnerable people --- and the abuse is all court-sanctioned.

Anonymous said...


Sue said...

I hope the fine folks in the USA get fired up, I hope they see this as a con game, a scheme using the corrupt courts to get to their goal --- YOUR MONEY! while they throw you in an institution of their choice - so pack your bags and burn your money because this mob is coming for YOU!

Norma said...

Laurie Roberts is all over this case! Thanks again, Laurie. And NASGA.

Anonymous said...

Where's the Governor?!

Max said...

Trying to set an example, Judge Lindsay Ellis, that wards of the state shouldn't have advocates against abuse?

Anonymous said...

I hope these two attorneys, Pat Gitre and Dan Raynak, have gained a valuable insight into the probate court racket and will continue to advocate for the vulnerable, like Marie Long.

Kelly said...

This case should be made into a movie. It's so incredible, no one would believe it. They'd have to label it sci fi.

But, it's real and it's happening to Marie Long. And it's wrong what they're doing to her.

We're praying for you Marie Long.

Gina said...

Let the name SUN VALLEY GROUP forever be imprinted on the wall of shame!

Anonymous said...

Ellis is a real gem.