The Guardian- Season One

Episode: 3

Production #: 103

First Air Date: October 9, 2001

Writer: Michael R. Perry

Director: Joan Tewkesbury

Guest Stars:

Karina Logue as Summer Neil
Jesse Plemons as Lawrence Neill
Kathleen Chalfant as Laurie Solt
John Pyper-Ferguson as Jerry
Justine Miceli as Rachel Shell
Nicholas Pryor as Bart Shell
Wendy Fowler as Maria Neal
Jason Cole as Center Director
Denise Dowse as Judge Rebecca Damsen
Dan Desmond .... Owens
Paul Schulze as ?
Trace Turville .... Emily Johnson

Fan Rating: 10/10 (Average of all fan submitted ratings)


Nick is given the case of a wheelchair-bound boy who is about to be placed in a group home while his mother does time for prostitution. The boy, Lawrence, wants to live with his stepfather, but the man has a criminal record. The state wants him to live at St. Riley’s, but Lawrence doesn’t want to live among the mentally disabled. Nick thinks the only chance for him is to track down the father, a former customer of the mother’s, and sue for child support. But, when the father wants to have more of a relationship with the boy, everyone is caught off guard. Meanwhile, Burton and Nick help out an old friend when his daughter, Rebecca, tries to take over his business.

Case Law:

This episode deals with two very different family disputes: one, over the placement of a child with a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis and the other over the take-over of a family business

For more information about Neurofibromotosis: or call 1-800-942-6825.

A judge in a "shelter hearing" would determine whether to place Lawrence with Jerry, the residential facility or Derek. First the court has to decide whether Lawrence is "dependent." Next the court has to find "clear necessity" before the court would decide to remove the child from the home. This involves a difficult balancing test. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Interest of Pernishek, 268 Pa. Super. 447, 408 A2d 872 articulated that the courts must balance the risk of harm to the child in permitting him to remain in the home against the risk of harm resulting from separating him from his family. In that case, the court had to decide whether to remove a child diagnosed with psychosocial dwarfism that some experts attributed to poor nutrition in the home.

One of the characters, Derek, is faced with an interesting dilemma in whether to contest paternity. Can anyone be accused of being the father of a child and find themselves in court facing a paternity suit? The answer is yes! But it has to be proved. There is a presumption that a child born in wedlock is legitimate. In Derek's case, however, the situation is more complicated since he was not married to the mother and thus the presumption does not apply. In theory, the court could order Derek to undergo blood tests pursuant to Section 5104 of Chapter 23 of Pennsylvania's Statutes, but he might have an argument that this violates his right against unreasonable search and seizure under the federal and state Constitutions.

With respect to the corporate takeover, the issue is whether Rachel has enough votes to take over the company. The Pennsylvania legislature incorporated tough anti-takeover provisions into their Business Corporation Law to deal with their concern that hostile take-overs and shareholder lawsuits were undermining commerce. Further, on April 21, 1997, the Pennsylvania's Supreme Court handed down a unanimous opinion in Cooker v. Mikalauskas 547 Pa. 600, 692 A.2d 1042, affirming the "business judgment rule" which gives deference to the business decisions of a corporation's board of directors. Ultimately, the key to the take-over in this episode is a good old proxy fight in which a shareholder tries to collect a sufficient number of friendly votes to enable them to appoint a new board of directors to run the company.

©2001 Almost Human