Unruh v. James D. Vandever Trucking, Inc. et al
STIPULATED ORDER by Magistrate Judge Stephan M. Vidmar GRANTING 22 Joint Motion to Appoint Guardian ad Litem. Attorney Donald Schutte is appointed as Guardian ad Litem. The Clerk is directed to add Mr. Schutte to the docket. (am)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
LINDA UNRUH as Personal Representative
of the Wrongful Death ESTATE OF
ROBERT L. UNRUH, JR., Deceased and as
next friend on behalf of Robert L. Unruh’s
minor children, Destiny Unruh, Robert Lee
Unruh and Leland Merle Unruh,
Cause No. 1:17-cv-00422-JCH-SMV
JAMES D. VANDEVER TRUCKING, INC.,
a Texas corporation and EARL ROGER GARRETT,
STIPULATED ORDER APPOINTING GUARDIAN AD LITEM
THIS MATTER having come before the Court on the parties’ Joint Motion to Appoint
Guardian Ad Litem to assist the Court in evaluating a proposed settlement of this pending
litigation, the Court having reviewed the file and being otherwise fully advised, hereby finds:
A Guardian Ad Litem should be appointed by this Court in connection with the
Court’s approval of a settlement involving Destiny Unruh, Robert Lee Unruh and Leland Merle
The Guardian Ad Litem should be appointed to investigate on behalf of the Court
into the fairness and reasonableness of the settlement and its effect on the minors.
The Guardian Ad Litem’s appointment does not contemplate representation of the
minors as an advocate, but only as a functionary of the Court and the Guardian Ad Litem’s
responsibilities under this appointment are to the Court. The Guardian Ad Litem under this
appointment should not be requested to invade or interfere with the Petitioners’ representation of
There are strong public policy reasons to grant immunity to the Guardian
Ad Litem in this case, who is acting as an “Arm of the Court” and is performing an essential role
in this Court’s Administration of Justice, as the Judge’s assistant.
All immunities and privileges available to the Guardian Ad Litem, as articulated
by the New Mexico Supreme Court in Collins v. Tabet, 111 N.M. 391, 806 P.2d 40 (1991)
should be extended to the Guardian Ad Litem in this matter.
Donald Schutte, Esq. is qualified to perform as a Guardian Ad Litem in this
The reasonable fees for the Guardian Ad Litem shall be paid by James D.
Vandever Trucking, Inc.
As the Court appointed Guardian Ad Litem, Donald Schutte, Esq. shall be deemed
a party entitled to participate, to have notice of all proceedings, and to receive copies of all
pleadings and correspondence among the parties
The Guardian Ad Litem shall be discharged from his duties as Guardian Ad Litem
upon settlement and conclusion of any litigation herein.
THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, Donald
Schutte, Esq. shall be appointed Guardian Ad Litem as an “Arm of the Court,” appointed in
connection with this Court’s consideration of a settlement involving the minor children, Destiny
Unruh, Robert Lee Unruh and Leland Merle Unruh, and shall be absolutely immune from any
liability for his actions taken pursuant to this appointment, in so far as his conduct in the case is
as a result of an investigation on behalf of this Court into the fairness and reasonableness of the
settlement, the manner in which the settlement monies will be held or used on behalf of the
minor child, and in its effect on the minor children.
The Guardian Ad Litem’s duties and obligations in this Court are owed to the Court,
and not to the minor children. This appointment of Donald Shutte, Esq. is intended to convey
upon him in all of the immunities and protections allowed or provided under Collins v. Tabet,
111 N.M. 391, 806 P.2d 40 (1991).
HONORABLE STEPHAN M. VIDMAR
United States Magistrate Judge
SUBMITTED & APPROVED BY:
BUTT THORNTON & BAEHR PC
/s/ Amy E. Headrick
Raúl P. Sedillo
Amy E. Headrick
Jay J. Athey
PO Box 3170
Albuquerque, NM 87190-3170
Attorneys for Defendants, James D. Vandever Trucking, Inc., and Earl Roger Garrett
GARRETT LAW FIRM
Michael T. Garrett, Esq.
920 North Main Street
Clovis, New Mexico 88101-5931
Telephone: (505) 762-4545
Attorney for Petitioner,
SCHUTTE LAW OFFICE
Guardian Ad Litem for
Destiny Unruh, Robert Lee Unruh, and Leland Merle Unruh, minors
112 W. Main St
Tucumcari, New Mexico 88401
Telephone: (575) 461-6111
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