Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MENTAL HEALTH OF LITIGANTS

Setting aside the argument that litigation always affects the mental health of a party, there are truly cases where a party who has not been adjudicated as incompetent is nevertheless incapable of adequately prosecuting or defending his/her rights.

There is statutory guidance in Article 12 of the CPLR and of course the cases thereunder when  dealing with a client in litigation (and/or a pro se party in opposition) with a mental health condition and an attorney should be aware that a need for a guardian ad litem may arise at any time. The best course, naturally, is to deal with client competency problems as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary delays and costs in litigation.

While researching this, I came across an interesting Court of Claims case from a few months ago where the pro se claimant was making his own motion for a guardian ad litem:

TRUCCHIO v. THE STATE OF NEW YORK, # 2013-048-101, Claim No. 112596, Motion No. M-82864

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