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Guardianship of B.V.G. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-068-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11925   GUARDIANSHIP OF B.V.G.       Norfolk.     December 7, 2015. – May 23, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Guardian, Incompetent person.  Probate Court, Guardian, Standing.  Practice, Civil, Appointment of guardian, Intervention, Standing.  Words, “Interested person.”       Petition for guardianship filed in the Norfolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on February 16, 2011.   A motion to intervene was heard by George F. Phelan, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Anthony D. Martin (Jennifer L. Mikels with him) for the grandfather. Adam J. Nussenbaum for the father. Frederick M. Misilo, Jr., for The Arc of Massachusetts, Inc., amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  The maternal grandfather of B.V.G., a young woman with intellectual disabilities, sought to intervene in permanent guardianship proceedings pending in the Probate and Family Court on the petition of B.V.G.’s father, who had been appointed B.V.G.’s temporary guardian when she was eighteen years old.[1]  The grandfather asserted that his relationship with B.V.G. has been restricted by her father in his capacity as temporary guardian, that B.V.G. has indicated expressly her desire to communicate with him and has sought contact with him via social media, and that such a relationship is in B.V.G.’s best interests.  The grandfather filed a motion to intervene, pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 24, 365 Mass. 769 (1974),[2] in the guardianship proceedings, seeking to limit the father’s ability to restrict B.V.G.’s access to the grandfather. Concluding that the grandfather lacked standing to intervene because he was not an “interested person” within the meaning of G. L. c. 190B, § 5-306 (c), a Probate and Family Court judge denied the motion.  The grandfather appealed, and the Appeals Court affirmed the denial, on grounds other than those relied upon by the motion judge.  See Guardianship of B.V.G., 87 Mass. App. Ct. 250 (2015).  We allowed the grandfather’s petition for further appellate review.[3] General Laws c. 190B, § 5-306 (c), provides that the Probate and Family Court may, “on its own motion or on appropriate petition or motion of the incapacitated person or other interested person, . . . limit the powers of a guardian . . . and thereby create a limited guardianship.”  Based on our review of the record and the judge’s […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 23, 2016 at 4:41 pm

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