Tuesday, October 2, 2012
In 2005, elderly Daniel Gross sought treatment in a Waterbury, Connecticut hospital. For completely unknown reasons, while he was being treated there, a hospital employee filled out an application for appointment of a conservator in Waterbury Probate Court.
In the involuntary conservatorship action, the probate court appointed Jonathan Newman to represent Gross. Despite the fact that Gross appeared to be alert and intelligent at the time of the hearing, Newman concluded that there was no legal basis for denying the application.
Kathleen Donovan was appointed the conservator and she placed Gross in a "locked ward" in Grove Manor Nursing Home, where he remained until the Connecticut Superior Court granted his habeas petiton.
Gross sued Donovan and Newman for civil rights violations. The district court held that Donovan and Newman enjoyed quasi-judicial immunity and dismissed his claim. This week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the court-appointed attorney and the conservator were not entiteld to absolute federal quasi-judicial immunity.
See Elderly Man Can Sue Conservator, Attorney For Nursing Home Stay, www.StopGuardianAbuse.org, Oct. 2, 2012.