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03/05/97 ESTATE J.M. v. LAW OFFICES NYE AND

March 05, 1997

IN RE THE ESTATE OF J.M., AN ALLEGED DISABLED PERSON. (LEGAL ADVOCACY SERVICE, COUNSEL FOR J.M., SANCTIONS PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
LAW OFFICES OF NYE AND ASSOCIATES, LTD., SANCTIONS RESPONDENT-APPELLEE).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. 94 P 5060. Honorable Marjan Staniec, 94 P 5060.

Released for Publication April 24, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Cahill delivered the opinion of the court. Hoffman, P.j., and S.m. O'brien, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cahill

JUSTICE CAHILL delivered the opinion of the court:

We review a trial court order that denied a petition for sanctions under Supreme Court Rule 137. Legal Advocacy Service (LAS) filed the petition against the lawyers who represented the father of a person alleged to be disabled under section 11a-2 of the Probate Act of 1975 (755 ILCS 5/11a-2 (West 1994)). We affirm.

On May 27, 1994, J.M., 18 years old, was admitted to Forest Hospital under an order of detention from the Circuit Court of Cook County. On May 31, 1994, J.M.'s parents consulted with Sandra D. Nye, a partner in the Law Offices of Nye and Associates, Ltd. J.M.'s parents told Nye that they were frantic about their daughter's situation, since insurance coverage for in-patient care would soon run out.

On May 31 or June 1 Sandra Nye consulted with Dr. Milton Kanter, J.M's treating psychologist, and reviewed J.M.'s mental health records. Sandra Nye and Jonathan Nye (also an attorney at the firm) then spoke with Dr. Howard Klapman, J.M.'s treating psychiatrist, sometime before June 7, 1995. Based upon Dr. Kanter's and Dr. Klapman's concerns, Sandra Nye concluded that guardianship appeared to be appropriate for J.M.

Dr. Klapman prepared a physician's report on June 7, 1994, while J.M. was still at Forest Hospital. He talked to Sandra Nye about the contents of his report and sent the report to her the same day. Dr. Klapman's report recommended that J.M. receive long-term hospitalization followed by long-term residential treatment. The report also stated that J.M. was chronically suicidal and episodically homicidal. Klapman concluded that J.M. was incapable of making responsible personal or financial decisions because of her poor reality testing, grandiosity, sense of entitlement and impulsivity. The doctor reported that she refused medication and could not make rational decisions about her treatment and need for medication because of a lack of insight into the nature and consequences of her illness.

Dr. Klapman and Sandra Nye also discussed J.M.'s need for psychotropic medication. Dr. Klapman believed, on June 7, that a medication plan might benefit J.M. Later at the sanctions hearing he testified that he did not believe J.M. required involuntarily administered medication at the time she was released from the hospital on June 15. He also testified that she needed to be "stabilized," and that filing a guardianship petition on June 10 seemed to have a therapeutic affect on her.

Sandra Nye told J.M.'s father, sometime before the petition for plenary guardianship petition was filed, that she would feel better about filing for guardianship if J.M. were examined by an independent psychiatric expert. J.M. agreed to be examined, and Dr. Edward Wolpert examined her on June 13, 1994.

On June 10, 1994, before Dr. Wolpert examined J.M., Nye and Associates filed a petition for the appointment of a plenary guardian. Nye and Associates did not attach Dr. Klapman's report to the petition, and did not request a court-ordered evaluation in the petition.

Sometime after June 13, but before June 21, Sandra Nye spoke to Dr. Wolpert about his evaluation of J.M. He told Sandra Nye that he believed guardianship was appropriate because he suspected that J.M. was mentally ill and could not make responsible decisions. He also told her that J.M. might benefit from psychotropic medication to help her through acute distress at different times. He believed that J.M. might need medication on a continuous basis as well.

On June 13, 1994, two days before J.M.'s release from Forest Hospital, Nye and Associates filed a petition for psychotropic medication alleging that: "medication is the only viable treatment for [J.M.'s] condition;" her "prognosis without medication is dismal;" only with medication would she "be able to return to normal or near-normal functioning;" and "less restrictive services have been explored and have been of no effect."

Terrie Rymer, court-appointed Guardian ad litem by an order entered June 30, testified at the sanctions hearing that Dr. Klapman told her J.M's condition did not require involuntarily administered medication, and that Dr. Klapman did not intend to force medication. The date of this conversation is not in the record. Rymer stated that Dr. Klapman told her he ...


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