A Minnesota appeals court holds that when a court is reviewing a restraining order placed on behalf of a person under guardianship, the court must consider the person’s right to visitation under state law. Harris v. Gellerman (Minn. Ct. App., No. A20-0527, Jan. 25, 2021).

Richard Gellerman and Margaret Banks had a 10-year on-again, off-again relationship until Ms. Banks entered a nursing home and her daughter, Tammy Harris was appointed her guardian. Ms. Harris filed a restraining order against Mr. Gellerman on behalf of her mother to prevent him from visiting her.

Ms. Banks requested that the restraining order on her behalf be dropped. She argued that under state law, Ms. Harris didn’t have the right to deny Mr. Gellerman’s visits. State law includes a guardianship bill of rights that ensures wards retain certain rights, including the right to visitation. The district court found that Mr. Gellerman had harassed Ms. Banks and granted the restraining order. Mr. Gellerman appealed.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals reverses, holding that the district court didn’t properly consider Ms. Banks’ rights under the state guardianship law. According to the court, “when reviewing a petition for [a restraining order] filed on behalf of a person subject to guardianship, a district court must not only consider the [restraining order] request, but also the relevant provisions of the bill of rights, in conjunction with the guardianship order.”

For the full text of this decision, go to: https://mn.gov/law-library-stat/archive/ctappub/2021/OPa200527-012521.pdf