Cabrera et al v. United States of America

Filing 9

ORDER GRANTING 6 Motion to Appoint Guardian Ad Litem ad Litem; Patricia McGrew as Guardian Ad Litem for Josiah Cabrera, signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 02/3/2017. (Martin-Gill, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CHRISTINA CABRERA, et al., Plaintiffs, 12 13 14 Case No. 1:17-cv-00019-LJO-SAB ORDER APPOINTING PATRICIA McGREW AS GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR JOSIAH CABRERA v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, (ECF No. 6, 8) Defendants. 15 16 17 On January 4, 2017, Plaintiff Christina Cabrera filed a complaint in this action along with 18 a motion to appoint her as guardian ad litem for her minor child in this action. (ECF Nos. 1, 2.) 19 On January 10, 2017, an order issued denying the motion for appointment as guardian ad litem 20 without prejudice. The Court expressed concern regarding a possible conflict of interest based 21 on the allegations in the complaint and any further petition for appointment of a guardian ad 22 litem needed to demonstrate that the guardian was dedicated to the best interest of the child and 23 address any potential conflict of interest. (ECF No. 5.) On January 19, 2017, a motion was filed 24 to appoint Patricia McGrew as guardian ad litem for Josiah Cabrera. (ECF No. 6.) At the 25 direction of the Court, Patricia McGrew filed a supplemental declaration on February 2, 2017. 26 (ECF No. 8.) 27 Pursuant to Rule 17 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a representative of a minor 28 may sue or defend on the minor’s behalf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(c). This requires the Court to take 1 1 whatever measures it deems appropriate to protect the interests of the individual during the 2 litigation. United States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, More or Less, Situated in Klickitat Cty., State 3 of Wash., 795 F.2d 796, 805 (9th Cir. 1986). The appointment of the guardian ad litem is more 4 than a mere formality. Id. “A guardian ad litem is authorized to act on behalf of his ward and 5 may make all appropriate decisions in the course of specific litigation.” Id. A guardian ad litem 6 need not possess any special qualifications, but she must “be truly dedicated to the best interests 7 of the person on whose behalf he seeks to litigate.” AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Yeager, 143 8 F.Supp.3d 1042, 9 (E.D. Cal. 2015). This means that the guardian ad litem cannot face an 9 impermissible conflict of interest with the ward and courts consider the candidate’s “experience, 10 objectivity, and expertise” or previous relationship with the ward. Id. (citations omitted). 11 “A guardian ad litem is authorized to act on behalf of his ward and may make all 12 appropriate decisions in the course of specific litigation. For example, notwithstanding the 13 incompetency of a party, the guardian may make binding contracts for the retention of counsel 14 and expert witnesses and may settle the claim on behalf of his ward.” United States v. 30.64 15 Acres of Land, More or Less, Situated in Klickitat Cty., State of Wash., 795 F.2d 796, 805 (9th 16 Cir. 1986) 17 Due to his age, Josiah Cabrera is not competent to proceed in this action on his own 18 behalf and the Court has expressed a concern regarding a potential conflict if he is represented by 19 his mother in this action. Rather than addressing the conflict issue, a motion for appointment of 20 Patricia McGrew as guardian ad litem has been filed. Ms. McGrew has a degree in social work 21 from Fresno State University and has previously worked as a social worker. (Decl. of Patricia 22 McGrew, ECF No. 6-2.) Ms. McGrew is employed fulltime and has an adult daughter. (Id.) 23 Ms. McGrew is familiar with the court system and has experience working with children based 24 on her prior employment as a social worker. (Id.) Ms. McGrew has never declared bankruptcy, 25 has minimal unsecured debt, and no criminal convictions. (Id.) Having been advised of the 26 nature of this action, Ms. McGrew is willing to serve as guardian ad litem for Josiah Cabrera in 27 this action. (Id.) Ms. McGrew states that she has no conflict of interest with the minor or his 28 mother and will act in the minor’s best interest. (ECF No. 8.) 2 Ms. McGrew has demonstrated that she possesses the required experience, objectivity, 1 2 and expertise to act as guardian ad litem for Josiah Cabrera in this action. Further, there are no 3 known conflicts of interest that exist between Ms. McGrew and Josiah. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Patricia McGrew is appointed as guardian 4 5 ad litem for minor Josiah Cabrera. 6 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. 8 Dated: February 3, 2017 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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