In the Interest of Edward William Spohr, Protected Person, Appellant, and Fremont County Department of Human Services, Appellee.
Fremont County District Court No. 18PR30057 Honorable Stephen
A. Groome, Judge
R. Brown Law LLC, David R. Brown, Canon City, Colorado, for
L. Jackson, County Attorney, Nicole L. Bartell, Assistant
County Attorney, Canon City, Colorado, for Appellee
MARTINEZ, JUSTICE [*]
1 Respondent,  Edward William Spohr, appeals the district
court's order appointing the Fremont County Department of
Human Services (Department) as his guardian. We hold that the
guardianship notice statute did not require notice to the
respondent by personal service of a rescheduled guardianship
hearing because he had proper notice of an earlier scheduled
hearing. We also hold that the evidence was sufficient to
support the district court's decision that the
respondent's needs could not be addressed by less
restrictive means and that the court did not abuse its
discretion by refusing to continue the rescheduled hearing.
Thus, we affirm.
Factual Background and Procedural History
2 Spohr is a seventy-nine-year-old resident at the Valley
View Health Care Center (Valley View). Prior to this case,
the district court had appointed the Department as
Spohr's guardian. On May 17, 2018, a prior division of
this court reversed the appointment for lack of jurisdiction
because the Department had failed to personally serve Spohr
with notice of the guardianship hearing. Spohr v.
Fremont Cty. Dep't of Human Servs., 2018 COA 74,
¶ 30. The Department petitioned the district court the
next day to be re-appointed as Spohr's permanent guardian
and also as his emergency guardian in the interim. It filed
an amended petition the following week to request only a
permanent guardianship, as it no longer considered an
emergency guardianship necessary.
3 The following week, on May 24, 2018, the district court
appointed a court visitor and ordered the visitor to conduct
an investigation into the allegations of the guardianship
petition pursuant to section 15-14-305(1), C.R.S. 2019. The
order specified that the hearing on the guardianship petition
would occur on June 12, 2018.
4 On May 31, the Department filed a notice of a personal
service affidavit. The attached personal service affidavit
stated that Spohr had been personally served with the
original and amended guardianship petitions, as well as a
hearing notice on May 25, 2018. The hearing notice stated
that the hearing on the guardianship petition would be held
on June 12, 2018. The visitor filed a report on June 7, 2018,
concluding that Spohr needed a guardian.
5 The court held a hearing on the petition on June 12, 2018.
A transcript of the hearing is not in the record, but the
parties agree that at the hearing the court appointed counsel
for Spohr and appointed the Department as Spohr's
emergency guardian. The court entered written orders of these
rulings the next day. The record indicates that the court
continued the hearing on the permanent guardianship
appointment at Spohr's request.
6 On June 14, the Department filed a notice of a
"continued hearing" on the petition for a
guardianship appointment, set for July 18, 2018. The
Department served the notice on Spohr's counsel
electronically. Spohr then requested that a professional
evaluation be performed to evaluate his current mental health
and ability to make his own decisions, and asked that the
July 18th hearing be continued so that a report on the
evaluation could be completed. The court granted both
7 The Department filed another notice of a continued hearing
on the guardianship petition, listing that hearing's date
as August 28, 2018. This was also served on Spohr's
8 A psychologist performed the professional evaluation and
filed a ten-page report, concluding that Spohr could not
effectively receive and evaluate complex information and that
a guardian was needed to ensure that his basic needs were met
and to protect his assets.
9 On August 28, 2018, the district court held a hearing on
the guardianship petition. The Department presented testimony
from a Department caseworker who worked with Spohr, a social
service director at Valley View, Spohr's physician, and
the psychologist who performed the professional evaluation.
Spohr also testified. The court appointed the Department as
District Court Had Jurisdiction
10 Spohr contends that the district court lacked jurisdiction
to appoint the Department as his guardian because the
Department failed to comply with the guardianship ...