IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP AND CONSERVATORSHIP OF CARRIE BISBEE, CARRIE BISBEE, Ward-Appellant.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Christopher Foy, Judge.
Carrie Bisbee appeals from the district court order denying her motion for new trial in an action for appointment of guardian and conservator (involuntary).
APPEAL DISMISSED. Thomas A. Lawler of Lawler & Swanson, P.L.C., Parkersburg, for appellant.
Patrick Dillon of Dillon Law P.C., Sumner, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Carrie Bisbee appeals from the district court order establishing an involuntary guardianship and conservatorship. She contends a new trial is required because defects in the proceedings denied her due process of law. However, the guardianship and conservatorship have since terminated, and the issue is moot. Because she fails to indicate the issue falls within one of the mootness doctrine exceptions, we dismiss her appeal.
I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS.
On May 4, 2013, Pamela Bisbee and Lisa Jones filed a petition for involuntary appointment of guardian and conservator for their mother, Carrie Bisbee. They alleged Carrie is a person whose decision-making capacity is so impaired she is unable to care for her personal safety or provide for herself as provided in Iowa Code sections 622.552(3)(a) and 633.566(2)(a) (2011), and named themselves as the proposed guardians and conservators. The district court set the matter for hearing and appointed an attorney as guardian ad litem (GAL) "to represent the interests of the proposed ward" and "to take actions outlined in Iowa Code § 633.561(4)."
On June 5, 2012, the GAL filed a document that purports to be both an answer to the petition and a report to the court pursuant to sections 633.561 and 633.575. In it, the GAL acknowledged timely service of the petition on Carrie, accepted service of the petition on himself, consented to jurisdiction of the court, and waived any irregularities of service and notice of hearing. The GAL stated he personally interviewed Carrie and informed her of the nature and purpose of the proceedings, her rights, and the effects of an order appointing a guardian and conservator. Based on his review of the file and his interview of Carrie, the GAL concurred she "is unable to care for [her] personal safety, or attend to and provide for such necessities as food, shelter, clothing, medical care, [or] to make, communicate, or carry out important decisions concerning her own financial affairs" and recommended the court order an unlimited guardianship and conservatorship.
The court entered an order establishing the guardianship and conservatorship on June 11, 2012, following a hearing the same day. Carrie filed a motion for new trial "as a pre-answer motion" alleging the court lacked jurisdiction because of irregularities in the proceedings and seeking dismissal of the petition. A hearing was held in August 2012.
On February 25, 2013, the district court entered its order denying the motion for new trial. While the court noted "certain aspects of the proceedings in this matter do not strictly comply with the applicable statutes and procedural rules, " it found "its appointment of the guardians and conservators was done in a manner consistent with the requirements of due process and in substantial compliance with the applicable law."
Carrie filed a timely notice of appeal, asking that the order appointing the guardians and conservators be vacated and the petition dismissed. Afterward, Pamela and Lisa filed a final report recommending the guardianship and conservatorship be terminated, stating a "settlement [was] reached with [the[ ward." The district court found the final report "appears to contain an adequate accounting of the income, disbursements, and assets of the ...