FR Obtains Settlement of $610,000 for Breach of Fiduciary Duties by Conservator

Bethel, AK

In a case involving the loss of minors’ assets which were sought to be protected by the appointment of a professional conservator, Ken Friedman of Friedman | Rubin and Chris Schluess of Anchorage successfully recovered $610,000 on behalf of two children who’s father died with a life insurance policy earmarked for them. Two trusts were set up in 1995. The grandparents were named the co-conservators of the children and co-trustees of the trusts. In July of 1999, Professional Guardian Services (PGSC) was appointed as conservator and trustee because the grandmother was deemed unstable. PGSC never took control of the funds. By June of 2001, the grandmother had depleted the accounts of approximately $200,000.

During the course of discovery in the case, Plaintiffs learned that David Schade, President of Professional Guardian Services, failed to file an inventory of the children’s assets within 90 days as required by Alaska law, or file the required annual reports. Plaintiffs argued that PGSC’s and Schade’s failure to realize that the bank accounts were not protected, together with other violations of its fiduciary duties, amounted to a gross deviation from its obligations to the children and thus justified economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. PGSC filed a third party complaint against First National Bank, which contributed to the settlement. Ken Friedman of Friedman | Rubin and Chris Schleuss of Anchorage, Alaska, represented the plaintiffs.