In re Estate of Elizabeth BrownAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court remanded with directions to modify the superior court's April 22, 2013 attorneys' fees order, affirmed in part and vacated in part the April 26, 2013 judgment of the superior court, and affirmed the court's June 5, 2013 order, holding that the sanctions order was overly broad and the amount of attorneys' fees was excessive.
This case began with a dispute over Appellant's aunt's estate after she died. The April 22, 2013 order awarded attorneys' fees to opposing counsel. The April 26, 2013 judgment denied and dismissed Appellant's probate appeal and prohibited Appellant from filing pleadings or other documents in the superior court unless signed by a licensed attorney. The June 5, 2013 order denied Appellant's motions to vacate that were filed pursuant to either Rule 59 or Rule 60 of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure. The Supreme Court held (1) the sanctions order was overly broad in duration, infringing on Appellant's right of access to the courts; (2) a twenty-five percent reduction in the amount of attorneys' fees to be awarded was appropriate; and (3) Appellant's contentions on appeal with respect to her motions to vacate were unavailing.