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State ex rel. Conway v. Glenn

Supreme Court of Arizona

November 16, 1942

STATE OF ARIZONA, ex rel. JOE CONWAY, Attorney General, Appellant,
v.
HARRIETTE WILLOUGHBY GLENN, as Guardian of the Estate of WILLIAM CLARK WILLOUGHBY, an Incompetent, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Cochise. John Wilson Ross, Judge. Judgment reversed.

Mr. Joe Conway, Attorney General, and Mr. W. E. Polley, Assistant Attorney General, for Appellant.

Mr. John M. Williams, for Appellee.

OPINION

Page 364

[60 Ariz. 24] LOCKWOOD, C.J.

This is an action brought by the State of Arizona, plaintiff, against Harriette Willoughby Glenn, as guardian of the estate of William Clark Willoughby, an incompetent, defendant, to recover certain sums claimed to be due for the maintenance of said incompetent in the Arizona State Hospital. Judgment was rendered in favor of defendant, and this appeal was taken.

The facts necessary for a determination of the appeal are not in question and may be stated as follows: William Clark Willoughby was employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company on December 18, 1928, on which date he suffered an accident and an injury while in the course of his employment. On April 25, 1930, the judge of the superior court of Pima county entered his order in case No. 4728 adjudging Willoughby to be insane and committed him to the state hospital, where he remained from July 11, 1930, to April 18, 1941, and again from May 13, 1941, to July 10 of the same year. The order of commitment made at the time contained no reference to the payment of any maintenance while he was in the state hospital, with the exception of the following:

"Mrs. W. C. Willoughby, wife, Douglas, Ariz., probably has claim against S.P. Co. for injury which caused his present condition, and some funds may be available in the future from that source."

His wife was appointed guardian of his estate by the superior court of Cochise county and effected a cash settlement with the railroad company for his injuries. Mrs. Willoughby died on January 27, 1938, and Harriette Willoughby Glenn, the daughter of the incompetent, was appointed guardian of his estate by the superior court of Cochise county, and duly qualified [60 Ariz. 25] as such. In November, 1940, an informal request was made by the officers of the state hospital to the guardian for the payment of the

Page 365

maintenance expenses of the incompetent at the hospital. As a result of this request, seven monthly payments of $30, and one of $12, were made by the guardian, but payments were then stopped. On January 20, 1942, the attorney general filed a petition in the superior court of Pima county for an inquiry into the ability of the incompetent's estate to bear the charges and expenses of his maintenance while in the state hospital. Pursuant to the petition an order to show cause was issued and a hearing was had, the guardian being present at such hearing, when the following order was made:

"In the Matter of the Application for the Commitment of W. C. Willoughby An Alleged Insane Person

No. 4728 Decision

"This matter coming on regularly for hearing an order to show cause why the court should not fix the charges against the estate of W. C. Willoughby, an alleged insane person, for the period during which he was an inmate of the state hospital, which charges would be for his maintenance, and it being undisputed at the hearing by the respondent, Harriette Willoughby Glenn, that the sum of $30 a month was a reasonable sum to be charged for the period the said Willoughby was an inmate of the state hospital, and the records of this court disclosing that in the original commitment, filed on April 25, 1930, the Judge of this court made the following entry:

"'Mrs. W. C. Willoughby, wife, Douglas, Ariz., probably has claim against S.P. Co. for injury which caused his present condition, and some funds may be available in the future from that source.'

"It appearing from the said above entry that the court did not fix any sum for such maintenance because there was no assurance that the estate would have any money to pay the same,

[60 Ariz. 26] "NOW, THEREFORE, the court does fix the sum of $30.00 a month as a reasonable charge to be paid by the estate of W. C. Willoughby, an alleged insane person, for his maintenance at ...


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