A judge Wednesday established a temporary conservatorship over Eagles co-founder Randy Meisner, saying he was worried that the musician’s longtime substance abuse problems could cause him to harm himself.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cunningham also ordered both sides to mediate a possible solution to their differences.
Cunningham noted that a psychiatric report by Dr. David Trader showed Meisner was vulnerable to the undue influence of others. The judge instructed Trader in May to prepare the mental capacity report, and delayed until today a decision on whether to appoint a temporary conservator.
He named Frumeh Labow, who has a lengthy background in social work, to fill the role pending a hearing on Sept. 29 on whether the conservatorship should be made permanent.
Cunningham’s ruling also includes an order that Meisner receive 24-hour assistance from a caregiver.
“We’re obviously pleased,” said Troy Martin, an attorney for James Newton, a longtime friend of Meisner who filed the petition to place the 69- year-old bassist under a conservatorship. “He obviously has mental impairments and needs the protection of the court.”
Martin said Meisner’s suicidal thoughts once prompted him to say he wanted to kill people with an AK-47 and then take his own life.
Labow will make medical decisions on behalf of Meisner, but the judge did not give her the additional power sought by Martin and Newton to also have her oversee his finances.
Martin argued in favor of the more expanded conservatorship, saying changes were recently made in the Meisner family trust giving Meisner’s wife, Lana Rae Meisner, more authority that she previously had.
Meisner and his lawyers objected to the appointment of a temporary conservator. Lana Meisner walked out of the courtroom in protest while Cunningham was making his ruling.
Newton and Martin allege that Lana Meisner has done little to help her spouse of nearly two decades battle addiction issues, primarily involving alcohol, but also including cocaine.
Martin included in his court papers a declaration from a nurse, Marla Dodd, who said she has known Meisner for about a year and that she and her husband, Bobby, are longtime fans of the Eagles.
Dodd stated that on April 14, Lana Meisner left a voice message in which she said in a slurred voice that she used cocaine and worried that Dodd’s husband, a police officer, might arrest her for doing so.
“You know, I do it, but I’m a functioning person,” Lana Meisner said, according to Dodd.
Lana Meisner also said her neighbors were spying on her and that the night before, there were two children in her back yard, one of whom was wearing a clown suit, according to Dodd.
Meisner’s court-appointed attorney, John Rogers, and his private lawyer, Bruce Fuller, both said they have talked to their client and found him to be lucid. They said he does not need anyone to look after his personal and financial needs.
Before today’s hearing, Fuller filed court papers asking that Lana Meisner be named her husband’s temporary conservator instead of Labow if the judge determined he was in need of one. That petition also will be heard in September.
Meisner’s son said that he, too, is concerned about his father’s health. In a sworn declaration, Dana Scott Meisner claimed his stepmother is “providing (his father) with the alcohol that is slowly killing him” because she believes she can more easily “influence and manipulate” her husband when he drinks.
He also accused his stepmother of trying to isolate the musician from family members since the two married in the mid-1990s.
“This is a pattern with Lana,” according to Dana Meisner. “Ever since she has been married to my father, she has thrived on conflict and has attempted to create conflict within the family.”
The Eagles were founded in 1971 by Meisner, Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Bernie Leadon. Meisner co-wrote and sang the hit, “Take it to the Limit.”
— City News Service
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