A local elderly woman is suing her court-appointed attorney, the public agency charged with her care, an agency employee and that agency’s insurance carrier for nearly $5 million.
On March 26, in Davidson County Chancery Court, Jewell Tinnon sued the Greater Nashville Regional Council Public Guardianship for the Elderly, Kim Hale — individually and as public guardian for the GNRC — the Tennessee Municipal League Risk Management Pool and attorney Karl Warden, Tinnon’s court–appointed conservator.
The allegations, delineated in a nearly 20-page complaint, include breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, negligent hiring, retention and supervision, outrageous conduct and legal malpractice. The claims all are associated with a conservatorship appointed by Seventh Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy, a legal formation Tinnon's attorney says was never needed.
This circuitous case begins with what Michael Hoskins says was an unneeded conservatorship forced on 82-year-old Tinnon that resulting in the loss through auction of her home, the furniture inside, personal belongings — including wigs and makeup — and everything else she owned. That left the once-solvent women in local public housing, relying on her attorney for one meal a day.
Tinnon’s story isn’t new to local media. In December, WSMV Channel 4 detailed the events leading to the local court’s action and the players involved. Those included a group consisting of ad litum attorneys, Tinnon’s two grandsons — the first conservators appointed — and Warden, Tinnon’s counsel at the time.
Still, despite the notoriety, finding the proper legal venue has been tough going.
“This case was moved from Chancery but I’m sure it’s going to be sent to Williamson County Circuit or some other court outside of Davidson County,” said Hoskins.
That meandering is at the heart of what Hoskins said is an intentional effort on the part of all Davidson County Circuit Court Judges to avoid an unpleasantness yet undefined.
“I think that’s at the heart of what this case is really about,” Hoskins said, not elaborating further on what that might be.
Hoskins is anxious to have his day in court given Tinnon’s age and living conditions. According to the complaint, Tinnon is seeking $1.2 million in punitive damages for the fiduciary breach and the outrageous conduct allegation, another $400,000 for Hale’s involvement, $1.2 million for GNRC’s role and another $1.6 million for Warden’s alleged malpractice charge.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS