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Conservator Representing Conservatee in a Limited Civil Case

San Mateo, CA |

I am a probate conservator of my mother. I field a limited civil case on behalf of my mother and was appointed by Court Guardian ad Litem.
We are going through discovery process. Defendants did not provide responses. I filed motions to compel. Defendants now threatening me with an action claiming that as a conservator I have no right to be In Pro Per and that I have to retain a counsel. And if not, they will file an action. I think they are blaffing because the code of civil procedure section 1297.351 and 372-376 state that I have a disabled person has a right to choose who they want to be represented by and that I have a right to represent my mother. Am I right or are defendants right?

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Attorney answers 1


Unfortunately, the defendants are correct here. You will need to hire a lawyer to pursue this claim on behalf of your mother.

CCP Section 1297.351 does not apply to civil cases in court. I can see how CCP sections 372-76 may be a bit confusing, but they simply mean that you can "stand in" as the plaintiff when you are the conservator. As such, they allow you to make decisions on your mother's behalf in the litigation. However, those statutes don't allow you to act in pro per on your mother's behalf.

You need to obtain counsel. Your failure to do so may result in the court striking your complaint. The case law is pretty clear on this point. See, e.g., City of Downey v. Johnson, 263 Cal.App.2d 775 (1968).