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In re Grooms

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

September 3, 2015

IN RE AYO GROOMS; CHRISTINA C. FORBES, APPELLANT

Submitted January 22, 2015

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (INT-308-01). (Hon. Peter H. Wolf, Trial Judge).

Christina C. Forbes, Pro se.

Louis L. Jenkins, Auditor-Master, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, filed a memorandum amicus curiae on behalf of the Office of Auditor-Master.

Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, and Stacy L. Anderson, Senior Assistant Attorney General, filed a memorandum amicus curiae on behalf of the District of Columbia.

Before GLICKMAN and FISHER, Associate Judges, and FARRELL, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 977

Farrell, Senior Judge

Christina C. Forbes, the permanent guardian for ward Ayo Grooms, appeals from the trial court's order granting in part her motion for enlargement of time[1] to file an untimely petition for compensation under D.C. Code § 21-2060 (a) (2012 Repl.). Appellant contends that the trial judge, in allowing only a portion of her compensation claims, abused his discretion by basing his conclusion largely, if not entirely, on appellant's delay in filing her compensation request, thereby minimizing (or ignoring) other factors relevant to whether her untimeliness stemmed from " excusable neglect." We affirm.

I.

Appellant became Ms. Grooms' general permanent guardian on August 4, 2005, replacing Ms. Grooms' mother. As guardian, one of appellant's statutorily imposed duties was to file a semi-annual report on the " condition of the ward and the ward's estate." D.C. Code § 21-2047 (a)(5). After becoming guardian, appellant failed to file the report timely on twelve occasions. Because Ms. Grooms has no assets or estate, appellant's compensation for services provided is drawn from the Guardianship Fund, a taxpayer-funded source established by D.C. Code § 21-2060 (b). From 2005 to 2008, appellant filed three separate petitions for compensation; her third petition, filed in November 2008, covered a three-year period and was untimely,[2] but the trial court granted the motion to late-file and awarded 100% of the requested compensation.

On October 6, 2013, appellant again filed a motion for enlargement of time in which to petition for compensation. The accompanying petition sought $13,029 for services rendered and expenses incurred from August 20, 2008, to August 23, 2013. In support of her motion, appellant asserted " what she generally always says in defense of delays in filing compensation petitions," i.e., that " the day to day work of serving the needs of her wards and clients takes priority over preparing and filing petitions for compensation." Appellant attested to having carried a " large caseload," but noted that she " was working mightily to reduce the delay in filing."

The trial court granted appellant's petition " only in part," ruling that it would " consider one year of ...


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