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
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.