Plenary Hearing Denied When No Issue of Material Fact

In re Grompone, No. A-0563-22, 2023 WL 4926145 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. August 2, 2023)

Helen Paglinawan – the sister of Marie Grompone, an incapacitated person – appealed the trial court’s approval of a consent order and the denial of her motion to intervene in the litigation.  Grompone at *1, 4.

Helen instituted a guardianship action which resulted in Marie being declared incapacitated and the appointment of Marie’s friend, Patricia, as guardian of Marie’s person and Marie’s nephew, Joseph, as guardian of Marie’s estate.  Id.  at *1.  Helen, Patricia, and Joseph subsequently engaged in various rounds of litigation concerning Marie including, inter alia, Marie’s finances, Marie’s move to Pennsylvania, and Patricia’s transfer of jurisdiction over the guardianship action to Pennsylvania.  Id. at *1-4.

During a period of time where Helen did not have counsel, Patricia and Joseph resolved their disputes through a consent order.  Id. at *2-3.  While Helen retained new counsel and filed an informal motion to intervene, the trial court approved Patricia and Joseph’s consent order and denied Helen’s motion as moot, reasoning that Marie’s guardian ad litem confirmed Marie was receiving quality care and the consent order terms were in Marie’s best interests.  Id.

Helen appealed, primarily arguing that the trial court should have held a plenary hearing before reaching its conclusions.  Id. at *3-4.

The Appellate Division affirmed, reasoning that the trial court did not abuse its discretion as the consent order resolved the outstanding issues and Helen did not include specificity nor conflicting, material facts requiring the trial court to conduct a plenary hearing.  Id. at *3-4.