Board member, Misti Okerlund, wins significant case in defense of a woman with disabilities who was be subjected to guardianship abuse.
APRIL 4, 2023 — 5:49PM
In a case closely watched by disability rights advocates, a Mankato woman has won a temporary legal victory in her months-long struggle to regain control of her personal decisions from a court-appointed guardian.
Cindy Hagen, a 49-year-old who became quadriplegic after a childhood car accident, has been at the Mayo Clinic hospital in Austin since last July, even after she was deemed healthy enough to leave, because she has been unable to find enough staff to provide care at her apartment in Mankato.
After several failed attempts to move Hagen to a facility for seniors, a Blue Earth County District Court judge in January placed her under an emergency guardianship — which gave an outside entity control over nearly every aspect of Hagen's life. Hagen and her attorney have insisted that she is capable of making decisions on her own, and that a guardian is not necessary.
Now, after two months of contested proceedings, Hagen has won back her independence — for now.
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