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In re Interdiction of Shubert

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 24, 2018

IN RE: INTERDICTION OF ROY J. SHUBERT, JR.

          APPEALED FROM THE 22nd JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER 2017-13757, DIVISION I HONORABLE REGINALD T. BADEAUX, JUDGE

          Alison C. Bondurant James L. Bradford III Covington, Louisiana Attorneys for Plaintiff/Curator/Appellee Kathleen Shubert Brown

          Brenda Braud Hammond, Louisiana Attorney for Defendants/Appellants Roy J. Shubert III, Linda Shubert and Diane Shubert Cox

          Elizabeth Wiedemann Mandeville, Louisiana Undercurator/Appellee

          Jeff Bratton Covington, Louisiana Attorney Ad Hoc/Appellee

          BEFORE: McDONALD, CRAIN, and HOLDRIDGE, JJ.

          MCDONALD, J.

         In this appeal, children of an interdict challenge the judgment of permanent interdiction. We dismiss the appeal as moot.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In April 2017, 91-year-old Roy J. Shubert Jr. was discharged from the hospital and admitted to hospice care with end-stage kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Upon leaving the hospital, Mr. Shubert moved into the home of his daughter and son in law, Kathleen and Melvin Brown. Kathleen handled Mr. Shubert's medical and financial affairs under a power of attorney as well as under the terms of a family trust established by her parents in 1997.

         In July 2017, Mr. Shubert moved into The Trace Senior Community in Covington, Louisiana. In a letter, Kathleen explained to her three siblings, Roy J. Shubert III, Linda A. Shubert, and Diane Shubert Cox (Siblings) that family member visits had created unhealthy turmoil in her home, that their father became agitated and unsettled after visits, and that he and she had decided that it was best for him to move to The Trace. She stated that their father's new residence would give each of them an opportunity to spend time with him.

         On August 14, 2017, Kathleen filed a petition to interdict Mr. Shubert, attaching the affidavit of Dr. Hyon Kim, a psychiatrist, who had evaluated her father and determined he was "unable to consistently make reasoned decisions regarding the care of his person or property." Kathleen alleged that other family members were trying to get Mr. Shubert to revoke her authority to manage his affairs and that Mr. Shubert did not have the mental capacity to make that decision. The trial court signed a temporary interdiction order, issued temporary letters of curatorship to Kathleen, appointed an undercurator and an attorney ad hoc as Mr. Shubert's counsel, and noticed a hearing on the preliminary interdiction. The attorney ad hoc filed an answer on Mr. Shubert's behalf, seeking dismissal of the interdiction petition.

         On August 23, 2017, the trial court held the hearing, at which Mr. Shubert, his attorney ad hoc, Kathleen, her attorney, the undercurator, and the Siblings were present. Kathleen's attorney called witnesses and entered documentary evidence at the hearing with no objection, and the attorney ad hoc, who visited Mr. Shubert two days before the hearing, testified. The Siblings made no formal appearance. At the end of the hearing, the trial court indicated there was sufficient evidence to warrant Mr. Shubert's permanent interdiction. On September 20, 2017, the trial court signed a judgment permanently interdicting Mr. Shubert, appointing Kathleen as his curator; appointing a permanent undercurator and setting her fee; giving Kathleen discretion to set visitation guidelines for Mr. Shubert's visitors, including the power to limit or prohibit visitation; prohibiting the Siblings from agitating Mr. Shubert; limiting the Siblings' communication with Kathleen to writing only; and other matters.

         The Siblings appealed from the September 20, 2017 interdiction judgment. After the appeal was lodged, Mr. Shubert died on January 25, 2018. Kathleen then filed a motion to dismiss the Siblings' appeal as moot, and the Siblings opposed the dismissal. Another panel of this court referred the motion to this panel for decision. Because our decision on the motion ...


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