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In Re Estate of Kristina Rosinski v. Lori S. C. Yokoyama and Associates

August 22, 2012

IN RE ESTATE OF KRISTINA ROSINSKI
MINOR
COLLEEN WENGLER, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
LORI S. C. YOKOYAMA AND ASSOCIATES, P.C.,
RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, a Will County, Illinois, Circuit No. 10-P-807 Honorable Jeffrey J. Allen Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wright

JUSTICE WRIGHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Presiding Justice Schmidt and Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Appellant, Lori S. C. Yokoyama & Associates, P.C. (the firm), appeals the trial court's decision ordering the firm to pay the court-appointed guardian ad litem fees as costs, pursuant to local rules. The appeal, filed pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010), is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 The minor in this case, Kristina Rosinski (Kristina), was injured in an automobile accident involving another driver, Ardythe Barnett. Barnett's insurance company, AAA, retained the firm to "facilitate" a settlement of the claim in the amount of $16,104.29.

¶ 4 On October 26, 2010, Jacqueline Rosinski (Jacqueline), Kristina's mother, filed a pro se petition to settle the cause of action and a pro se petition to be appointed guardian of her daughter's "estate and/or person" in Will County case No. 10-P-807. The firm purportedly assisted Jacqueline with the preparation of the petition to settle the cause of action against "Ardythe Barnett" and the petition requesting the court to designate Jacqueline as guardian of the "estate and/or person of the minor."

¶ 5 The trial court appointed Colleen Wengler (GAL) to serve as guardian ad litem for the minor on November 29, 2010, pursuant to Will County local rule 5.03 (12th Judicial Cir. Ct. R. 5.03 (Aug. 3, 2009)). Upon reviewing the case, the GAL advised an attorney with the firm, McKenzie Carr, that the minor must first be served with a summons and petition before any request to appoint Jacqueline as guardian of the minor's estate could be heard by the court.

¶ 6 Consequently, Carr appeared in court on December 27, 2010 and requested leave to issue an alias summons, which the trial court granted.*fn1 The firm prepared the alias summons and paid costs in the amount of $47 on December 28, 2010 to have the minor served with the summons and the petition.

¶ 7 Approximately three months later, the GAL formally recommended the court deny the proposed settlement with AAA on March 22, 2011. The GAL also advised the court that Jacqueline intended to retain counsel to file suit on the minor's behalf. The court continued that matter to August 15, 2011 for a status hearing.

¶ 8 On August 15, 2011, the record indicates Lori Yokoyama of the firm was present in court, and she was directed by the court to provide notice to both Jacqueline and the GAL of the next status date on September 29, 2011. The handwritten order prepared by the firm on August 15, 2011 indicated the firm represented "Ardythe Barnett," the insured. The GAL appeared in court on September 29, 2011 and received the trial court's permission to file her petition for fees on that date.

¶ 9 On November 2, 2011, the court conducted a hearing on the petition for GAL fees. Daniel Chang appeared at this hearing to oppose the petition on behalf of the firm. Chang did not allege the GAL fees were unreasonable but simply argued the firm should not be ordered to pay the GAL fees in any amount.

ΒΆ 10 During the hearing regarding her request for GAL fees, the GAL informed the court she made several court appearances due to the firm's "failure to have their pleadings in order." Specifically, the GAL informed the court that the petition to settle the minor's cause of action was not in compliance with local court rules when it was first filed. The GAL stated, "I have $1,450 worth of fees just trying to get this thing in order so that the Court can take a look at it and so that ...


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