Judge Jeffrey Hullender: Justice For Jacob Relinquish Settlement Funds

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In 2005, September, 9th approximately 5:30pm Friday, a auto collision occurred off of Brock Circle in Ringgold, GA that resulted in several severe injuries and 1 fatality. The person that was deceased when those injured were retrieved by the Emergency Team was none other than Jacob A. Bates. Upon inspection of the wreck, Jacob was found with a fractured skull and severe bleeding. Jacob was taken by life-force along with his father Kevin to Erlanger Medical Center of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The life-force team had to revive Jacob due to his injuries, he was taken to a special wing of the hospital for emergency surgery on his fractured skull. Medical records indicate that Jacob suffered acute brain damage as a result of the impact of the rear-view mirror becoming detached during the collision with the oncoming vehicle. Jacob stayed in the ICU for 2 weeks before being moved to recovery for another 1-2 months. 


Several months had passed since the accident, those involved minus the 2 older boys, Joshua and Johnathan were taken to a relative's during a deposition for a settlement agreement. Because of the severity of the Jacob's injuries, he was given a much larger settlement amount than the rest of those involved. It was declared by the courts and appointed Law Firm that Jacob would receive his settlement funds at the age of 18 due to his inability to properly care for the large lump sum that he would receive. Therefore a beneficiary of the family was appointed to oversee the account his funds were placed into. As years passed, Jacob awaited the day that he would receive his settlement funds when reached the age of 18. The original judge that ruled over the case passed and when the time came as of June of last year (2017) the new judge appointed to Jacob's case was Probate Judge Jeffrey D. Hullender of Catoosa County.

During this time, Jacob, as well as his legal guardians, were told that since Jacob has reached the age of 18, his funds will be released to his parents to do as seen fit. The day after Jacob's 18th birthday the family went to the hearing to receive his settlement. It was said while the hearing was taking place that the parents would be granted guardianship and conservatorship over Jacob's now released estate. Afterward, his mother and father were told that they were denied rights to access or be granted the conservatorship and guardianship like originally stated during hearing due to the judge having a personal trust issue with them. Therefore the original ruling in Jacob and his family's favor were changed afterward. The judge then appointed Attorney John R. Wiggins as guardian ad litem and Lawrence A. Stagg (Larry Stagg) of Stagg Law Firm as conservatorship and guardianship over Jacob's funds rather than his parents.

It is quite unclear why and how the change in the ruling and judgement was made after it was said under oath of the probate court that the settlement and or trust fund would be handed over to Jacob's parents. A further inspection should be done and as it has been many years since the accident, as Jacob had to go through much physical therapy, pain and suffering; it is advised and only in the best interest that he receives his estate from the aforementioned legal figures. No other actions have been taken toward releasing his lump sum. Rather it was ruled later that Jacob will receive a encroachment of $800.00 each month until the age 21. However, there were rules put in place as a result of the personal trust issue that the judge has against Jacob's parents. His mother must show proof of use of Jacob's encroachment amount for 1 year via receipts. The decisions made are very unclear and seemingly very unfair to Jacob as uncertainty is not what we need in the judicial system this day and age. And so we ask that the remaining amount of Jacob's estate be released in a timely manner because of the unclear circumstances that are involved as well as unknown changes being made without Jacob or family's knowledge. http://carsonphotos.net/webpage952.htm

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