LOS ANGELES, April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Spectrum Institute, a preeminent nonprofit organization focused in part on probate court reform (see https://spectruminstitute.org/capacity/) has filed an "amicus" letter to the California Supreme Court in support of the grandson of the late Walt Disney, Bradford D. Lund. Spectrum supported Lund's counsel's separate petition to the high court, asking for the "right to appeal" a probate court's ruling as a final order that allegedly violated his due process rights, including the right to be represented by his own counsel and to get a fair trial on his inheritance rights and related claims against his Trustees.
Spectrum's amicus and Lund's petition for review asked the high court to allow Lund to appeal an order made in 2019 by Los Angeles County probate court Judge David J. Cowan. That order resulted in the appointment of a limited "guardian ad litem," referred to as a "GAL" (which is a substitute decision-maker, in this case another lawyer, for purposes of the litigation).
Cowan's 2019 order appointing the GAL specifically instructed her to renegotiate a settlement agreement previously made and approved by Mr. Lund and his Trustees and all affected parties. Lund now opposes any settlement and, if the Supreme Court allows him to appeal Judge Cowan's order and he prevails on his right to due process, Lund is asking for a full trial on the issues affecting his inheritance.
"Replacing a litigant with a GAL infringes on the constitutional right of a litigant to manage his own litigation," Spectrum wrote in its amicus brief supporting Lund's petition for review by the California Supreme Court. "Due process considerations attend an incompetency finding and the subsequent appointment of a guardian ad litem."
Lanny J. Davis, a co-counsel in a federal court civil rights and anti-discrimination case filed against Judge Cowan and the LA Superior Court as a whole, welcomed the Spectrum Institute's "amicus" filing. He stated: "All Mr. Lund is asking for is a chance to have his day in court – denied so far by a judge we are asking provide the same due process constitutional protections for Mr. Lund as are available to all Americans. Mr. Lund's case is just the 'tip of the iceberg' of the abuses across America within the probate court system – where unaccountable power must be challenged, and transparency and the rule of law restored. We intend to keep public focus on this particular case – and, already we are hearing from people across the nation who have experienced similar abuses and who want to help Mr. Lund and reform the system."
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SOURCE Lanny Davis