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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Alberta Miller was in a car wreck on July 17. On July 20, she signed a contingency fee contract with J. Paul Nelson. Hobert Stanley Miller was appointed Alberta’s temporary guardian on Aug. 19. In that capacity, Hobert signed a contingency fee agreement with attorney R. Daryll Bennett on Aug. 20. Hobert’s temporary guardianship of Alberta ended in December 2002. Bennett filed for a declaratory judgment that his was the reigning contract for representing Alberta in her claims arising from the car wreck. Both sides moved for summary judgment. Bennett defended against Nelson’s motion be arguing that Alberta was incompetent at the time she signed her contract with Nelson. Bennett provided a letter written by Alberta’s treating physician, who saw Albert a week after the crash. He called Alberta’s prognosis good, but said the head injury she had received had left her thinking “muttled” [sic]. Nelson, in turn, offered Alberta’s affidavit filed after the temporary guardianship ended, saying that she knew what she was doing when she signed the contract with Nelson and that at the time, she had not been placed under a guardianship or deemed mentally incapacitated or incompetent. The trial court granted Nelson’s conventional motion for summary judgment. Though it did not specifically deny Bennett’s motion, in its final ruling, the trial court said it was disposing of all parties and claims before it. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court says the doctor’s letter is hearsay, as it is a document offered for proof of the matter asserted. Nelson objected to the letter � orally and in writing � but the trial court did not rule on the objection. “However, even assuming the trial court considered the letter, by its very terms it does not state Alberta was incompetent at the time she signed the contract with Nelson.” Additionally, Alberta’s affidavit offers uncontroverted proof that Alberta was not incapacitated or incompetent at the time she signed the contract. The court disagrees with Bennett that his contract is nonetheless valid. The guardianship order states merely that Hobert would have “all the powers and duties as stated in the Texas Probate Code.” The court points out that the code sets out no powers or duties, such as entering into contracts for their charges, for a temporary guardian. Where no authority is specifically designated, the court says it cannot find that the order gave Hobert authority to enter into a contract with Bennett on behalf of Alberta. OPINION:Ross, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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