Two new unpublished cases from the Court of Appeals deal with Roberta Asplund and her malcontent child Randall.
Roberta is subject to both a guardianship and conservatorship. At the time of these events, Roberta is in an institutional care setting,
The first of these cases comes about when Roberta’s public conservator seeks approval from the probate court to sell her home. Randall, objects.
In a two-pager, the Court of Appeals says it lacks jurisdiction to hear the case because, although Randall is an interested person in the affairs of his parent, he is not “aggrieved” by the probate court’s decision to allow the sale.
This doesn’t feel right to me. If an interested person has no standing to appeal the decision, how do they have standing to object? If they don’t have standing to object, what is the point of the whole charade? The COA never really explains. I don’t like it.
In the second case, the public conservator hires an estate sale company to clean out the house and sell the furniture and other belongings. Randall threatens to sue and take other actions to interfere if that company attempts to conduct such a sale. The conservator petitions the probate court for a restraining order to prevent Randall from interfering with the sale. The probate court signs that order, the sale is conducted, and Randall appeals.
The COA first notes that since the sale has already happened, the appeal is moot, but the COA then opines that it would have affirmed the trial court’s decision had it been required to do so. In that context, the COA makes a couple interesting comments about injunctive relief.
First, they offer:
The standard for the entry of a temporary restraining order is quite low: the probate court could enter the order if it “clearly appear[ed]” that Roberta or her estate would suffer “irreparable injury, loss, or damage.” MCR 3.310(B)(1)(a).
And then there’s this:
Irreparable injury does not normally include injury for which monetary damages could compensate the victim. However, an injunction may be appropriate when the failure to intervene may render the court unable to provide an effective remedy. Injunctive relief may also be appropriate when the party requesting relief would have to return to court constantly to protect his or her interests.
[Note that I removed the citations]