Monday, April 16, 2012

Conservatorship is Meant to Protect, but in Tennessee, it Sometimes Destroys

Just two years ago, 80-year-old Jewell Tinnon was living comfortably in the Edgehill house she and her late husband had bought and paid for years earlier.

Tucked away in the home on a cul-de-sac off 13th Avenue South were a life’s worth of possessions, her prized Sunday church clothes and her diamond rings. Parked outside was her 1995 low-mileage Pontiac.

But all that was before a petition was filed, without her knowledge, in Davidson County Probate Court to protect and conserve her life, health and assets.

Today, Tinnon, now 82, lives in a one-bedroom public housing unit watching a television donated by a friend. There is little furniture. Her house, her car, her jewelry and all her possessions are gone, sold off at auction. A large chunk of the proceeds — $36,000 in fees and expenses — was used to pay the lawyers who handled the process.

Tinnon’s plight, a Tennessean review has shown, is not unique. For Tinnon and others, records show, conservatorship, a court process intended to protect those judged no longer able to care for themselves, has proved to be a path in the opposite direction.

Stripped of the right to make even the most basic decisions about their life, health or finances, some of those placed in conservatorship have watched their life’s savings — everything from their homes to their clothes — swallowed up by legal and other fees.

The situation has drawn the attention of national elderly and legal organizations fighting guardianship and conservatorship abuse and sparked an ongoing effort to change states’ laws to provide additional safeguards.

Some who claim their conservatorships were mishandled are fighting back.

After a woman who was trying to get out of a conservatorship complained about how her case was handled, the Nashville judge who handles such cases instituted new procedures in his courtroom.

And Tinnon? After obtaining additional medical exams to prove her mental capacity, she has filed a lawsuit seeking $1.6 million in damages from her former attorney and the organization that had all her possessions auctioned off.

Full Article and Source:
Conservatorship is Meant to Protect, but in Tennessee, it Sometimes Destroys


Sue said...

I hope and pray Ms. Tinnon's is successful in her lawsuit against those who harmed her.

How long will the defendants drag this process out? Ms. Tinnon's deserves to be compensated NOW!!!
She is living in a baren small room with a donated television?

SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU all of you involved in this travesty you are a disgrace.

This system is broken, and worse it is harmful, in my opinion the judge is a serious problem and he needs to go.

Thankful to the reporter who worked hard on these articles and to his newspaper for giving these people prime space to show the good citizens what can happen to them and to those they love.

Betty said...

The buck falls to the judge to protect the wards in conservatorships. But, we all know Judge Randy Kennedy sees nothing wrong with the system depleting the wards' assets rather than conserving them. One day, he'll see just how wrong he is.

Norma said...

The title of this article is so telling and true. Just a slight word change and it would have been even better:

"Conservatorship is Meant to Protect, but in Judge Randy Kennedy's Court, it Sometimes Destroys"

Finny said...

I am so sorry, Mrs. Tinnon. It shouldn't have happened to you and I hope you are able to get justice for the injustice done to you.

Anonymous said...

The buzz in FB is there is wonderful talk about a movement by the locals in TN to assist Jewel Tinnon's in obtaining much needed items for her current living space which must be a horrible shock to her coming from her own home into a unit while strangers pocketed her money when a conservatorship wasn't needed in the first place. I would be so angry spitting fire balls if this happened to me. This is a racket with legs into real estate etc just follow the dollar signs, connect the dots to the judge R Kennedy who reigns in Davidson County. One probate judge? This dangerous situation needs to be changed.

Anonymous said...

Protech them? Are you kidding?
He's got a sweet not-so=little racket there!

StandUp said...

Thank you, Wally Roche, and The Tennessean for being a voice for those who have been silenced by the system and the courts.

jerri said...

yes yes yes a voice for those who have been silenced this is america for darned sakes land of the free well maybe free for a while but look what's waiting for us not what i am looking forward to spend it all now so they'll leave me alone no profit no problem

Eleanor A said...

I watched the live chat today on the Tennessean and I want to thank them for taking on this issue.

Mrs. Tinnon has been victimized by the court? If an individual did to her what the system did, they'd be charged with exploitation. But, the system does it and calls it protection.

Steve said...

I understand that judges are human and sometimes make mistakes. But judge Randy Kennedy's "mistakes" are well known. And there's not just one - or two - or even three. How many victims? And why isn't the CoJ doing anything about him?

Anonymous said...

Praying for your success, Mrs. Tinnon.

B Inberg said...

I can see that this press outlet the Tennessean is going the extra 100 miles here. People in that area are ahead of the rest of the nation with reporting like this. Good job!

Anonymous said...

"Conservatorship is Meant to Protect, but in Tennessee, it Sometimes Destroys"

Not only in TN but in other states too. There are countless wards who do not belong in a conservatorship almost all of them die as a ward. Prayers and good thoughts going your way Jewel. God Bless you and those who helped you get set free. With thanks all around to those who are giving you a chance to talk and speak your mind thanks to the newspaper here.

Thelma said...

The DoJ is not doing what it's supposed to do. Kennedy has got to go!

Anonymous said...

The court of the judiciary is dangerous a thick wall of protection to the protection racket for a big price. Who reviews those complaint files? Anybody? Who checks the shredder?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful expose - thank you Tennessean and NASGA!