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Guardianship Cases Tackle Lawyer-Hospital Relationships, Conflicts of Interest

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 11, 2017 3:59 PM

It's not hard to win a case when the opposing party doesn't show up for court.

That's how April Parks was doing it in Clark County, Nevada. She was awarded guardianships once a week, and had up to one hundred wards at a time.

It was easy pickings because the wards were too disoriented, incapacitated, or demented to go to court. Of course, there is more to the story.

Double Billing

Parks was indicted for perjury and theft based on double billing. Unfortunately for people caught in the guardianship system, it happens far too often.

Lawyers, inextricably, are involved. In Michigan and South Carolina, judges are taking steps to curb the "business as usual."

A Michigan judge removed attorney Catherine Jacobs from several cases after he perceived a conflict of interest. She had been paid by a hospital to petition for guardianship of certain patients.

In one case, Jacob's granddaughter and her boyfriend were living in a patient's home.

Conflicts of Interest

Lisabeth Kirk Rogers, a South Carolina attorney working as general counsel for a hospital, agreed to public reprimand after serving as a patient's guardian and conservator.

She billed $8,687 for her conservatorship time and paid her son $700 to do repairs at the patient's home. He then moved into the home, vandalized it and sold the patient's car.

Rogers was arrested for failing to report the exploitation to police, made full restitution of her fees and performed community service. The charge was expunged, but the damage was done.

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