Equal Protection - On July 6, 2017, the ACLU of Utah, the law firm of Latham & Watkins, and the ACLU Disability Rights Program filed a lawsuit demanding a right to counsel for anyone who is to be put under guardianship. The lawsuit also challenges a 2016 Utah law, H.B. 101, that lowered legal counsel requirements for people with disabilities who are involved in guardianship disputes.
Enacted in 2016, H.B. 101, “Disabled Adult Guardianship Amendments,” states that under certain circumstances, a person with disabilities defending against a petition for guardianship brought by a parent isn’t required to have an attorney. If the estate of the “prospective ward” is worth less than $20,000 and other requirements are met, H.B. 101 directs that the individual does not need an attorney to represent him or her.