Prudential Insurance Company of America v. House et al
ORDER seeking clarification re 8 Motion to Appoint Guardian ad Litem and for Deposit. Plaintiff's response due on or before 12/14/2017. Signed on 11/30/2017 by District Judge Roseann Ketchmark. (Stout, Courtney)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY
JASON HOUSE, B. N., A MINOR,
Case No. 6:17-03249-CV-RK
Before this Court is Plaintiff Prudential Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”)’s Motion to
Appoint Guardian ad Litem and for Deposit. (Doc. 8.) (“Motion”). The Court seeks clarification
before ruling on the Motion.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(c), the court must appoint a guardian ad
litem, or issue another appropriate order, to protect a minor or incompetent person who is
unrepresented in an action.1
In the Motion, Plaintiff identifies Mary Madden as B.N.’s
grandmother and proposed guardian. Plaintiff also states Madden does not have an independent
claim to the Death Benefit and does not have a conflict of interest with B.N. regarding the Death
Benefit. The Court seeks to determine if Mary Madden presents any further conflict of interest
to serve as guardian ad litem for B.N. in this case. See Sam M. ex rel. Elliott v. Carcieri, 608
F.3d 77, 92 (1st Cir. 2010) (“the minor’s best interests are of paramount importance in deciding
whether a next friend [or guardian ad litem] should be appointed, but the ultimate ‘decision as to
whether or not appoint [a next friend or guardian ad litem] rests with the sound discretion of the
district court’”) (quoting Fernandez-Vargas v. Pfizer, 522 F.3d 55, 66 (1st Cir. 2008).2 The
“A ‘guardian ad litem’ is appointed by the court to represent a minor child in particular
litigation; the function of the guardian is to represent and protect unrepresented minors and their
interests.” Harris ex rel. Litz v. Lehigh County Office of Children & Youth Services, 418 F. Supp. 2d 643,
648-49 (E.D. Pa. 2005).
There is little distinction between a guardian ad litem and a next friend. A guardian ad litem is
appointed by the court to defend on behalf of a minor party, while a next friend is one who is not a
regularly appointed guardian and represents an infant. Harris ex rel. Litz, 418 F. Supp. 2d at 648-49,
Davis v. Walker, 745 F.3d 1303, 1310 (9th Cir. 2014), Dacanay v. Mendoza, 573 F.2d 1075, 1081
(9th Cir. 1978). The duties and powers of a next friend and guardian ad litem are identical, regardless of
the title given to the representative. Dacanay, 573 F.2d at 1081.
Court seeks further clarification as to Madden’s familial relationship with: (a) B.N., (b) Bobbi
House, and (c) Jason House. Please also provide the minor B.N.’s age. The Court reserves the
right to hold a hearing regarding Madden’s ability to serve as a guardian ad litem dependent on
It is hereby ordered that Plaintiff supplement the Motion with this information on or
before December 14, 2017.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ Roseann A. Ketchmark
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DATED: November 30, 2017
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?