FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 2005-4788 HONORABLE CLAYTON DAVIS, DISTRICT
Michael H. Schwartzberg Vamvoras, Schwartzberg & Antoon,
LLC 1111 Ryan Street Lake Charles, LA 70601 (337) 433-1621
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Virginia Derby Jordan
A. Babst Hamilton, Brown & Babst 228 St. Charles Ave.,
Suite 1028 New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 309-5783 COUNSEL FOR
INTERICT: Virginia Hardin Derby (Now Deceased)
S. Haley, Jr. Haley & Associates 8211 Goodwood Blvd.,
Suite E Baton Rouge, LA 70806 (225) 663-8869 COUNSEL FOR
APPELLEE: Bessie Derby Miller
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R.
Cooks, and Marc T. Amy, Judges.
R. COOKS JUDGE.
September 19, 2005, Virginia Derby Jordan, filed an
interdiction proceeding in the Fourteenth Judicial District
Court. The interdict was Ms. Jordan's mother, Virginia
Hardin Derby. At the time of the interdiction proceedings,
Ms. Derby was a ninety (90) year-old resident of a nursing
home in New Orleans. Ms. Derby suffered from dementia and
other physical problems that prevented her from caring for
herself. At the pertinent time, Ms. Derby had been evacuated
under emergency conditions prompted by the impending arrival
of Hurricane Katrina. She was transported from St. Anna's
Residence in New Orleans to the Holly Hill House Nursing Home
in Sulphur, Louisiana.
Jordan maintained she was forced to initiate the interdiction
proceeding because her older sister, Bessie Derby Miller, who
had Ms. Derby's power of attorney, made no effort to
evacuate Ms. Derby from harm's way as Hurricane Katrina
approached New Orleans.
interdiction determination, the trial judge temporarily
interdicted Ms. Derby and appointed Ms. Jordan as temporary
curator. The trial judge further authorized the withdrawal of
$10, 000.00 from Ms. Derby's bank account for her
transportation and care expenses. Two days prior to Hurricane
Rita making landfall in Southwest Louisiana, Ms. Jordan drove
Ms. Derby to her home in Virginia. Hurricane Katrina caused
substantial property damage and loss of life for those who
resided in Southern Louisiana. Hurricane Rita, only a few
weeks following Katrina, caused substantial damage to
property and threatened the lives of those who lived in
October 13, 2005, Ms. Miller, who was a resident of Maryland,
filed an "Answer and Reconventional Demand" in the
Fourteenth Judicial District Court. Ms. Miller asked to be
appointed curator and noted she had, prior to the
interdiction proceedings, a valid power of attorney over her
mother. She also denied her mother faced any imminent harm as
a result of any inaction on her part.
telephone conference, the trial court continued in effect the
previous order interdicting Ms. Derby. The trial court found
the appointment of Ms. Jordan as temporary curator had
expired and appointed Ms. Miller the temporary curator. Ms.
Jordan's expenditures to date were approved, and the
trial court authorized further expenditures by Ms. Jordan,
who was housing Ms. Derby, up to the remainder of the $10,
000.00 previously withdrawn.
March 6, 2007, Ms. Jordan filed a "Motion to Remove
Bessie Derby Miller as Temporary Curator and Substitute
Virginia T. Derby Jordan as Preliminary Curator." Ms.
Jordan alleged her mother was moved from her home in Virginia
to the home of Ms. Miller's daughter's next-door
neighbor in North Carolina. She further alleged that, Ms.
Miller thereafter moved her mother back to another New
Orleans nursing home in 2006, largely because of Ms.
Miller's refusal to pay for services performed by Ms.
Derby's prior nursing home. That same day, Ms. Jordan
also filed for a Permanent Injunction Prohibiting the Sale of
Personal Property, which sought to prohibit the sale of
certain property of Ms. Derby at auction. A hearing was held
on the request and a preliminary injunction was issued
prohibiting the sale of those items.
April 24, 2007, Ms. Miller filed a petition to have herself
appointed and confirmed as permanent curator. A
reconventional demand was also filed against Ms. Jordan for
damages, as well as an opposition to the motion to remove Ms.
Miller as temporary curator. Ms. Miller requested court costs
and attorney fees incurred in setting aside Ms. Jordan's
appointment as temporary curator.
hearing was held beginning on May 29, 2007 and the court
ruled on all issues. The Motion to Remove Bessie Derby Miller
as Temporary Curator and Substitute Virginia T. Derby Jordan
as Preliminary Curator was denied by the trial court. Ms.
Miller was appointed permanent curator for Ms. Derby. Ms.
Miller was ordered to submit to the court a motion and
documentation to have damages and appropriate costs assessed
against Ms. Jordan, and Ms. Jordan was provided the
opportunity to oppose said motion. Ms. Jordan was ordered to
present written proof to the court ...