Legislature Addressed Conservatorship Law (well, kinda, sorta)

The Tennessean has a story on possible abuses of Tennessee’s law on placing people deemed unable to care for themselves in conservatorship, focused on the case of Jewell Tinnon, who lost her paid-for home and all her possessions when they were sold by a conservator and who now lives in a public housing. The article mentions a legislative effort to change current law through a bipartisan bill that wound up getting amended down to narrow it’s impact.
State Rep. Gary Odom, a Nashville Democrat, has filed a bill, based in part on the Tinnon case, that would provide additional protection to people facing conservatorship.
“There are things that are happening that concern me,” Odom said. “We’ve got to make sure that people aren’t put into conservatorship without due process.”
His bill would set new notice requirements before a conservatorship could be imposed. It also would require additional medical proof, including sworn statements from three physicians, that an emergency conservatorship was justified. Currently, a judge can put someone into a conservatorship based on one medical certification, but even that requirement can be waived temporarily by the judge.
Odom’s proposal also would not allow a conservatorship to be initiated before the target of the action was notified, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Odom’s bill was amended recently to only require proposed conservators to disclose their relationship with the proposed ward and any serious criminal convictions. The rest of his proposal was sent to a study committee.
Odom learned of Tinnon’s case after his wife, Rachel, was enlisted with the help of a friend of Tinnon’s to intervene in the conservancy case. Rachel Odom was then joined by Hoskins, and the two now represent her in the pending civil suit against Warden and the regional council.

Note: The legislature’s website shows HB2648, sponsored by Odom and Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, was passed unanimously by the House and Senate in its watered-down form and signed by the governor on May 10.

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