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Collins v. Pinnacle Trust

Supreme Court of Mississippi

February 13, 2014

KAREN COLLINS
v.
PINNACLE TRUST, EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF STUART M. IRBY, DECEASED, SUCCESSOR TO THE CONSERVATORSHIP OF STUART M. IRBY, SR., JOSEPH IRBY, JEFF RICKLES, AND RICHARD MONTAQUE AS CO-CONSERVATORS OF STUART M. IRBY, SR

As Corrected September 19, 2014.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/11/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. J. DEWAYNE THOMAS.

FOR APPELLANT: TERRIS C. HARRIS, DENNIS C. SWEET, III, BO ROLAND, DENNIS C. SWEET, IV, WILLIAM P. FEATHERSTON, JR.

FOR APPELLEES: LUKE DOVE, LAURA M. GLAZE, A. M. EDWARDS, III.

BEFORE DICKINSON, P.J., LAMAR AND CHANDLER, JJ. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., KITCHENS, CHANDLER, PIERCE, KING AND ,COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 831

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

LAMAR, JUSTICE.

¶1. The Chancery Court for the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi, appointed conservators over the person and estate of Stuart Irby. Approximately one year later, Karen Collins Irby, Stuart's ex-wife, filed pleadings to invalidate

Page 832

the conservatorship and set aside the transactions of the conservators. The chancery court denied Karen's petition to invalidate the conservatorship and, finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the chancery court.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On February 11, 2009, Karen and Stuart were involved in a deadly automobile collision with a second vehicle. Karen was driving and Stuart suffered serious injuries, including head trauma. As a result of his injuries, Stuart developed impulse-control issues.

¶3. On March 22, 2011, Stuart filed a Petition for the Temporary and Permanent Appointment of a Conservator for his Estate and Person (" Petition" ). Stuart was the only petitioner. Stuart sought a conservatorship under Mississippi Code Sections 93-13-251, et. seq , [1] and alleged that he was " incapable of managing his own estate due to a mental weakness, due to a traumatic injury to the frontal lobe of his brain sustained in an automobile accident February 11, 2009."

¶4. Affidavits from two medical providers, Clea Evans, Ph.D., and Sudhakar Madakasira, M.D., were attached to the petition. Dr. Evans, a clinical neuropsychologist, averred that she had examined Stuart within the last thirty days and was of the opinion that he could not manage his own estate due to the damage to the frontal lobe of his brain and recommended that a conservator be appointed over his property and person. Dr. Madakasira, a psychiatrist, averred that he had examined Stuart within the last sixty days and was of the opinion that he could not manage his own estate by reason of mental weakness and recommended that a conservator be appointed over his property and person. Stuart also requested leave to file additional statements from medical providers and attorneys under seal.

¶5. On March 30, 2011, a hearing was held on Stuart's Petition. Mississippi Code Section 93-13-253 requires that " upon the filing of the petition, the clerk of court . . . shall cause not less than five (5) days' notice thereof to be given to the person for whom the conservator is to be appointed . . . ." Section 93-13-253 further provides:

Unless the court finds that the person for whom the conservator is to be appointed is competent and joins in the petition, the notice shall also be given to one (1) relative of the person for whom the conservator is to be appointed who is not the petitioner and who resides in Mississippi if such relative is within the third degree of kinship, preferring first the spouse, unless legally separated . . . .

Miss. Code Ann. § 93-13-253 (Rev. 2013). Stuart was present at the hearing, as was his brother, Charles, a resident of Tennessee. The chancery court asked if Stuart had been served, and was informed by Stuart's counsel that Stuart joined in the Petition and had waived process. The court did not discuss whether Stuart was competent to join in the petition. Karen, who was married to Stuart at the time of

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the hearing, did not receive notice of the hearing from the ...


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