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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Adrienne and David Draper, individually and as next of friend of their daughter Leila, brought suit against the defendants for injuries Leila allegedly sustained during birth. The trial court appointed Joe Crabb as Leila’s guardian ad litem. According to his bill, the ad litem attended more than 50 depositions taken in the case. The defendants objected to the ad litem’s attendance at several depositions because there was no conflict between the parents and the child. The parties eventually settled the health-care claim, as a part of which the defendants agreed to pay a reasonable ad litem fee. At the fee hearing, the ad litem submitted a 47-page invoice itemizing approximately 1,053 entries, reflecting 585.75 hours of work billed at $200 per hour for a total of $117,150. The invoice included $5,250 for reviewing 105 deposition notices, $19,000 for reviewing 378 letters, and $35,900 for attending depositions. During the hearing, the hospital and Dr. Maria Jocson renewed their objections and argued the fees were excessive. The trial court overruled the objections and awarded all fees the ad litem requested. When the defendants appealed the award, the court of appeals affirmed, holding first that the defendants waived their objections to the ad litem’s attendance at depositions by failing to obtain a ruling during the course of discovery. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The general rule for deposition objections provides “the failure of a party to obtain a ruling prior to trial does not waive any objection or privilege.” Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 199.6. While the parties would be wise to seek direction from the court when they disagree about an ad litem’s role, the court states, it could be expensive and disruptive if they had to pursue every disagreement to a hearing throughout the pretrial process. The final fee hearing is an appropriate forum to assert any objections to the fee request and obtain a ruling. The court concludes that, under the facts here, the hospital and Jocson properly preserved their objections for appellate review. The defendants also objected to the fees awarded to the ad litem for reviewing notices, letters and other documents in the case. The defendants subpoenaed the ad litem’s files, but he refused to produce them on the basis that he was not relying on any documents in his fee request other than his invoice. As a result, when the ad litem was asked at the fee hearing to justify nine hours billed on one day for reviewing 36 pieces of paper, he could not identify what those documents were. He admitted it was his standard practice to bill one-quarter of an hour for each document he reviewed, even if it was only a notice of a deposition, a certificate from a court reporter, or a letter containing a single sentence. The court of appeals again found waiver, this time because the defendants failed to obtain a ruling on their subpoena of the ad litem’s records. The court disagrees. The defendants tendered some of the documents involved, and the invoice indicates the nature of many others. Further, the defendants’ primary objection was that no conflict ever existed between the parents and the child in this case and thus it was unnecessary for the ad litem to be involved in the dayto-day correspondence. “A guardian ad litem is not an attorney for the child but an officer appointed by the court to assist in properly protecting the child’s interests. . . . The guardian ad litem is required to participate in the case to the extent necessary to protect the minor. ” Am. Gen. Fire & Cas. Co. v. Vandewater, 907 S.W.2d 491 (Tex. 1995). When a party objects that an ad litem has gone beyond the bounds of his duties, the court hesitates to find waiver because each line item was not attacked in detail. The trial court concluded here that “[t]here’s no way that [the ad litem] would know what the conflict is unless he was aware of what was going on at all times in this case.” The court holds the court of appeals erred in failing to review that conclusion. OPINION:Per curiam.

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