June 26, 2020
This responds to your inquiry (20-75) relating to your former service as a court-appointed guardian. Although you were discharged as guardian over a decade ago, your former ward has sued you multiple times since then. In a recent lawsuit, the court awarded you attorneys’ fees. You now ask if you may provide financial information you had previously obtained, in your then-capacity as guardian, to your current attorneys to assist them in collecting those attorneys’ fees from your former ward.
We may only provide advice on ethical issues regarding judicial conduct or proper execution of judicial duties (see Judiciary Law 212[l]; 22 NYCRR 101.1). Your inquiry appears to raise primarily legal questions and/or questions of professional ethics for guardians or attorneys, such as whether the information you obtained as a guardian is privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure and, if so, whether you may disclose it under the circumstances described. Accordingly, we cannot address it.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 10-155 and 08-62 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice (Ret.)
Appellate Div., First Dep’t
Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice