Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jeanan Mills Stuart's written responses to The Tennessean's questions

These are excerpts from Jeanan Mills Stuart’s written response to The Tennessean.

“I think it is a good idea to give you a general description of my job as the Public Guardian for Davidson County. The Probate Court Judge nominates the Public Guardian and the nomination is confirmed by the City Council. I am not paid a salary for being the Public Guardian by Davidson County. I am provided with a security badge that gets me past the security checkpoint at the Courthouse. I am provided access to Caselink, an online database of Circuit Court filings. The premium on my blanket surety bond is paid for by Davidson County. In exchange, I am the default person selected as guardian or conservator where there is no other party found by the Probate Court Judge to be appropriate or willing to take on the task. I am obligated to provide all the care needed by my wards regardless of the ability of the conservatorship estate to pay my fees, and I am on call 24 hours per day. As a matter of law, I cannot delegate certain of my duties to another person.”

Question: What is your current hourly rate for the public guardian/conservator cases? Is it $225?


“Judge (Randy) Kennedy is well-aware that I am a lawyer. I am also a nationally certified guardian, a member of several associations of guardians, and an officer in one of them, I receive annual continuing education as both a lawyer and a guardian. As a condition of my service as public guardian, I must accept all appointments from Judge Kennedy, absent conflicts of interest, and even where the ward is unable to pay my fees or reasonable expense. I am on call 24 hours a day per day and cannot legally delegate many of my duties. My customary fees are at an hourly rate below the highest rates charged in Davidson County, Tennessee, for lawyers who also serve as conservators or who represent non-lawyer conservators. All of my fees and expenses are subject to the approval of the Probate Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, and may only be paid after the Court’s approval, regardless of the ability of the ward to pay them. In addition, my fees and expense, as well as my bank statements, receipts and cancelled checks are examined, where applicable, by the Bureau of TennCare/Medicaid of the State of Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and the Social Security Administration. I am also subject to random and surprise audits by the Social Security Administration. Accordingly, all my time and labor, which could otherwise be available for me to be retained as a lawyer for other clients, is obligated to the wards of the Seventh Circuit Court of Davidson County, Tennessee, and my hourly rate is based on the foregoing. Lawyers may be appointed by criminal courts to represent indigent criminal defendants and may never be compensated for their labor or expenses. I have agreed to such a condition regarding conservatorships in Davidson County, Tennessee.”

Question: Do you handle any other cases besides those assigned by Judge Kennedy? If so, what is your rate in those cases?

“I do not, as a rule, have any. I have one private case. It does not require much work. Other than that, I have not accepted any private cases in the last three years because there is simply not enough time to handle them.”

Full Article & Source:
Jeanan Mills Stuart's written responses to The Tennessean's questions


Thelma said...

Why can't staffers do the menial stuff instead of charging it at higher fees?

Anonymous said...

It appears this person would rather take care of people than be a lawyer, so Stuart should be paid as a care giver. What is this person's relationship to the Judge, sounds corrupt. The Judge must be getting a kick back.

Anonymous said...

Wow, she had a daughter arrested for kidnapping for not returning her mother to a nursing facility after a Christmas visit.

Why was this elderly lady in a nursing facility in the first place?

If the daughter was able to take care of her at the time of the visit, she was obviously also able to take care of her after Christmas.

The court is supposed to make sure the ward is in the least restrictive environment.

Saying she will lose her nursing facility placement, when she didn't need to be in a nursing facility in the first place, is just subterfuge.

I hope this daughter is suing the public guardian and the court, as well as the agency that arranged all of this.

Hannah said...

Jeanan Mills Stuart is very transparent. I wonder if her Mother knows she gets rich off the misfortunes of the helpless.

stewart said...

business is good in Tennesse I see...Mz Stuart seemed well prepared in her pat resonses except her non answer answer here:
Question: A complaint we heard and saw from a review of the files was that you charge your full hourly rate regardless of the duties performed. Joe Haynes made that complaint in court filings in the Nora Roberts case. For instance, the files we reviewed showed the full rate was charged for taking wards on shopping trips, going to the Schermerhorn, moving into an assisted living facility or trips to inspect properties or to meet with an auctioneer. What is your response to that? Why do you always charge the full hourly rate?

“I try to have staff or contractors perform some duties. But, that is not always possible. Many of my wards have not just physical limitations, but mental health issues as well. It is one thing if a ward has an episode in public while I am there and can show my conservatorship papers. It is another thing if someone who is not the conservator is accompanying the ward.

How special.

tina d said...

Jeanan Mills Stuart needs to go it sure sounds like she is on the A list that's right public guardian that has different meaning in each state and each county within each state add up the counties and now you see why the protection racket is running the show living lavish lifestyles while the taxpayers pick up the tabs for the wards who go broke being protected. This is the end of the road for a lot of people unless we check out sooner if not someone will be making decisions for you for me so better get our papers in order to beat the court system which is a life sentence.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty easy to pad the invoices, especially when the minimum charge is 1/10 of the hourly rate, and the charges add up when the hourly rate is in the hundreds of dollars. Litigation costs are so prohibitive that every court appointee knows he can easily add up to 50% to his/her bills before litigation becomes cost-effective.