From the Land of Broken Dreams
February 18, 2015 § 1 Comment
I’ve posted here, here, here, here, and here about the unfortunate guardianship of Demon B. McClinton, who inherited more than $3 million dollars from his mother, who died in 1999. The guardianship was closed in 2006, but reopened later to investigate abuses in the case.
What the guardian ad litem discovered was that Demon’s guardian and others had pilfered the account to near-extinction. The attorney, Michael J. Brown, was jailed until he could either account for the missing millions, or until he could replace them. He ultimately could do neither.
Disenchanted with the chancellor’s ruling finding him in contempt, Mr. Brown appealed. You can read how the COA disposed of his appeal in In re: Guardianship of Demon B. McClinton: Michael J. Brown v. Thomas A. McClinton, decided by the COA February 3, 2015. To put it in blunt terms, his appeal was for naught.
You can read the COA’s opinion by Judge Roberts for yourself. The point I am intending to drive home here is that there are serious professional, financial, legal, and even criminal repercussions awaiting lawyers who ignore or flout their duties in fiduciary matters. Read the Uniform Chancery Court Rules, Part 6, for yourself. Or, simply consider what happened to Mr. Brown. His mishandling of this guardianship is a textbook example of how not to represent a fiduciary.
Oh, and lest you are chafing at the lawyer being saddled with the blame, check out what the court did to the guardian and his friends who benefited financially at the ward’s expense.
Sadly, however, as the opinion points out, there may be nothing that Mr. McClendon can recover from the malefactors. Whatever his dreams were for the comfortable estate that his mother left him will not be realized. There may be actions available against Mr. Brown’s malpractice carrier and the fiduciary’s bonding company. I don’t know that for a fact, but even if he pursues, those avenues, it’s doubtful that Mr. McClendon will ever recoup his losses.
Let’s not overlook the wreckage that Mr. Brown left in his wake. There is a legal practice destroyed and a reputation annihilated. The toll on his family, I am sure, has been devastating. All because he let a guardianship get out of control.