IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF: THOMAS SAUBER [THOMAS SAUBER - APPELLANT] IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF: THOMAS SAUBER [THOMAS SAUBER - APPELLANT]
from Seneca County Common Pleas Court Probate Division Trial
Court Nos. 20162020, 20162023
W. Fruth for Appellant
Randall C. Schwartz for Appellee
A. Miller for Appellee, GAL
Thomas Sauber ("Sauber") brings these appeals from
the December 9, 2016, judgments of the Seneca County Common
Pleas Court, Probate Division, finding that Thomas was an
incompetent person pursuant to R.C. 2111.01(D). On appeal,
Sauber argues that the trial court's determination that
he was incompetent was against the manifest weight of the
and Procedural History
On August 9, 2016, Patricia Sauber, Sauber's wife of over
48 years, filed an "Application for Appointment of
Guardian of Alleged Incompetent, " seeking to have
Sauber declared incompetent on the basis of
"dementia" and "senility." (Doc. No. 1).
Patricia sought to be the guardian of Sauber's person and
his estate. At the time that Patricia filed her application,
Sauber was 86 years old and was living in St. Catherine's
nursing home in Fostoria. Patricia, who was 80 years old,
still resided in her home in Fostoria.
Along with her application, Patricia filed a "Statement
of Expert Evaluation" from Roy Harvey, M.D. According to
Harvey's evaluation, Harvey had been Sauber's doctor
for 10 years. Harvey indicated that Sauber had dementia,
which was progressing, that Sauber usually did not recognize
his children, that Sauber could not dress himself, and that
Sauber had become more hostile to others over time.
Harvey's evaluation indicated that Sauber needed help to
walk, but he could feed himself. Harvey indicated that he
noticed impairment of Sauber's orientation, his motor
behavior, his thought processes, his "affect, " his
memory, his concentration and comprehension, and his
judgment. (Doc. No. 4).
Harvey stated that Sauber was "terribly senile" and
that he would continue to get worse. (Doc. No. 4). Harvey
specifically stated that Sauber "has deteriorated more
each year with respect to memory, behavior, and judgment. He
gave money away to whomever would ask him for it, instead of
paying bills. He now does not even recognize a son who used
to be his favorite. He has become more oppositional and
aggressive." (Id.) Ultimately, Harvey opined
that a guardianship should be established.
The trial court ordered an investigation into the matter and
also appointed a Guardian ad Litem for Sauber. The trial
court's investigator first met with Sauber on August 26,
2016. The investigator indicated that Sauber did not want a
guardian and that he did not want his wife to be his guardian
because she kept all his money. Sauber further told the
investigator that he did not want his daughter to be his
guardian. After the interview, the investigator opined that a
guardianship was necessary and that there were no less
restrictive measures in this matter.
On September 26, 2016, a hearing was held wherein many of
Sauber's family members were present. At the hearing,
Sauber's counsel stated that he wanted an independent
medical evaluation. Before the hearing concluded, the court
indicated to the family members present that if anyone else
desired to be considered as guardian, they would have to file
to do so.
On October 4, 2016, Judith Hartley, one of Sauber's
children, filed an application to be appointed as guardian of
Sauber, the alleged incompetent.
On November 17, 2016, the court investigator met with Sauber
a second time. During the second meeting Sauber again
asserted that he did not want a guardian at all and that he
did not want his daughter to be his guardian. This time,
however, Sauber indicated that if he had to have a guardian
he wanted his wife Patricia to be his guardian. Sauber told
the investigator that Patricia ...