State v. Symons

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Disability Law
  • Date Filed: 08-13-2014
  • Case #: A152489
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, S.J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Wollheim, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 125.025(1), a court having jurisdiction over a protective proceeding has broad authority to protect the welfare of protected persons, even over the statutory obligations of the LTCO.

The state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) appealed a circuit court ruling in favor of Smith, who is a guardian and conservator for Symons, a protected person receiving long-term care. Smith had moved Symons from one facility to another over concerns for Symons' care, and refused to disclose the address of the new facility to the LTCO. The LTCO had petitioned the circuit court to compel Smith to provide the address, arguing that it had a statutory mandate to visit Symons at the new address, even if doing so caused Symons distress; the LTCO intended to continue investigating a complaint initiated by Symons regarding her treatment from the facility, and argued that only Symons could directly communicate a refusal to speak with the LTCO. Smith contended that she has a superseding duty to promote Symons’ best interests. The Court held that the circuit court did not err in denying the LTCO’s petition. It reasoned that, under ORS 125.025(1), a court having jurisdiction over a protective proceeding has broad authority to protect the welfare of protected persons. The Court found that the circuit court performed its inherent dispute-resolving adjudicating function when it privileged Smith’s obligation, which is to immediately and directly protect the welfare of the protected person, over the LTCO’s statutory obligations. Affirmed.

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