Why all the Anderson Cooper pics?
Because the following news item has nothing to do with him —
and Ben Maisani.
An elderly Guerneville man who sued Sonoma County, claiming his sexual orientation caused social workers to keep him from his dying partner and led them to sell off the couple’s belongings, settled the case on the eve of trial Thursday for $600,000.
Clay Greene, who earlier this year sued the county’s Public Guardian program over his treatment after the death of longtime partner Harold Scull in 2008, will get $275,000. His attorneys will receive $300,000, and Scull’s estate will get the remainder.
The county’s lawyer, Gregory Spaulding, maintained there was never any discrimination but admitted “procedural errors” in the sale of the property. He said the county risked having to pay attorneys’ fees and other costs of more than $1 million if it had pursued the trial, set to begin Tuesday.
“It just made economic sense to stop the bleeding,” Spaulding said. “To end the case and avoid all expenses and costs.”
See? There was “never any discrimination.” It was just about the state bleeding a gay couple dry.
And once that fact became known “It just made economic sense to stop the bleeding.”
“The case grabbed national media attention with its shocking claims of abuse at the hands of those meant to protect the frail and vulnerable. Gay rights groups pummeled county officials with strident e-mail and some threatened a boycott on county tourism and wines.
Although the suit was filed in August 2009, it didn’t become widely known until a report about it ran in April on the website of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.”
When they call you “strident” you know you’ve won.
“Spaulding said many of the online allegations were wrong and based on misinformation circulated by the groups.
“The county remains confident in its position that there was no discrimination in this case,” Spaulding said.
Greene, 78, alleged in his lawsuit that as his partner lay dying in a hospital bed, officials denied visitation and ignored signed wills, medical declarations and powers of attorney, naming each as the other’s spouse.
The suit claimed officials forced Greene into a nursing home and then sold off the couple’s household belongings, including art and other heirlooms, carting off choice pieces for themselves.
In the process, the suit claimed Greene was subjected to ridicule about his sexual orientation. It named as defendants Jo Weber, director of Human Services; Michael Brewster, deputy public guardian; and conservators Sally Liedholm and Karin Stagg-Hourigan.
The county responded the case was not about discrimination but domestic violence. Spaulding said the county stepped in to protect Scull after he was beaten by Greene and admitted to Kaiser hospital in Santa Rosa on April 27, 2008.
A sheriff deputy’s report said Scull came in with a black eye and told an investigator Greene threatened to kill him. But no charges were filed because there was insufficient evidence and Scull was unwilling to lodge a formal complaint.”
There was insufficient evidence cause they were fucking lying!
“Spaulding said the county objected to the claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation and the plaintiffs agreed to remove it from the lawsuit about three weeks ago.
A number of other facts about the case were not disclosed because of privacy concerns for Greene, who is suffering age-related illness, and for the executor of Scull’s estate, Jannette Biggerstaff of Sonoma.
Spaulding said he received a letter from their lawyers objecting to the release of confidential information.
He admitted the county made some mistakes. The law allows the sale of property worth $5,000 or less to cover the cost of care. But Greene and Scull’s property fetched more than $25,000 at auction, Spaulding said.
The error led to policy improvements at the Public Guardian’s office regarding property disposition and case management, Spaulding said.
He said the dispute might have been avoided if the men had been able to be legally married or if they had registered as domestic partners. Because they weren’t, their funds were viewed as separate, he said.
“Marital status played a role in what options were available to them,” Spaulding said.
“Greene and Scull lived together for 20 years and had executed both mutual powers of attorney for medical and financial decisions and wills naming each other as beneficiaries. In April 2008, County employees separated the couple after Scull fell outside their shared home. In the next three months, County officials ignored the couple’s legal documentation, unlawfully auctioned their possessions, terminated their lease, and forced Greene into an assisted living facility against his will. The County did not consult Greene in Scull’s medical care and prevented the two from seeing one another. In August, 2008, before the partners could be reunited, Scull passed away after completing a photo album of the couple’s life for Greene.”
The state deliberately ignored these legal documents and set about looting the couple’s assets.
In August, 2009, Greene and the representative of Scull’s estate, the couple’s longtime friend Jannette Biggerstaff, filed a lawsuit alleging elder abuse, elder financial abuse, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and other claims.
In addition to agreeing to pay a substantial sum, as a result of the lawsuit, the County has changed or modified a number of important policies in its Public Guardian’s Office, including requiring County employees to follow protocols before seizing private property, preventing County employees from relocating elders or others against their will, and prohibiting County employees from backdating information in their guardianship database.
“This settlement will allow Mr. Greene to finally have the quiet retirement he deserves,” said Anne N. Dennis, one of Greene’s attorneys. “Although nothing can undo the harm to these gentlemen, we believe the changes made because of the lawsuit will improve services to elders and other individuals who need the assistance of the Sonoma County Public Guardian’s Office.”
Plaintiff Jannette Biggerstaff , the executor of Scull’s estate and a longtime friend of the couple, added: “There is no possible justification for what happened to my friends Harold and Clay, and I still feel outraged and heartbroken that they suffered such a terrible tragedy, which was made worse by the county spreading such terrible lies about Clay,” she said. “But I am pleased that their rights have been vindicated, and I’m hopeful that their story will help to prevent this from happening to other vulnerable people.”
Needless to say the best way to prevent this from happening is Marriage Equality NOW!
Mention that to the Seinfelds the next time you and Ben run into them Anderson.
Chris and Cory will sing us out.