The Guardian- Season One

Episode: 12

Production #: 112

First Air Date: January 8, 2002

Writer: David Hollander & Peter Parnel

Director: Jeremy Kagan

Guest Stars:

Andy Umberger as Judge Gable
Kathleen Chalfont as Laurie Solt
Wendy Moinz as Louisa "Lulu" Archer
James B. Sikking as ?
Jon Sklaroff as ?
Denise Dowse as Judge Rebecca Damsen
John Lafayette as Bill McGee
Vernee Watson-Johnson as Ella Kurtz
Nicole Prescott as Hilary Kurtz
Gary Dewitt Marshall as Carter Sloan
Andy Umberger as Judge Gable
Jenni Blong as Edith Russo
Andrew Lee Barrett as ?
Elizabeth Fitzpatrick as ?
Matthew St. James as ?
Joyce Fessides as ?

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


This episode explores the parent-child relationship through the prism of a custody case and the sale of a company. In the corporate case, a father retains Kirk & McGee to sell his company to his son in what should be a straightforward "sweet-heart" deal. He is more or less giving the company to his son by providing a loan. In this type of situation, Nick gives solid business advice that the father should insist on "negative covenants" in the stock purchase agreement to protect his investment. Negative covenants are enforceable promises that the buyer makes to the seller regarding the operation of the business following the sale of the company. Typical negative covenants in a stock purchase agreement may provide that the buyer is prohibited from taking any of the following actions without the consent of the seller: sell the company; substantially alter the nature of the business; enter into new businesses; make any investments or incur any debt in excess of one million dollars; increase the salary of any executive officer in excess of ten percent. Although Nick provided appropriate legal advice in accordance with his professional responsibilities, the clients have the ultimate power to make any deal they want. Nick alienates the client when he tries to impose his own view of what is financially prudent on the father.

At Legal Services of Pittsburgh the relationship between mother and daughter over custody of the daughter's neglected baby is less harmonious. A dependency proceeding is triggered when a young mother neglects her baby, thereby repeating a pattern whereby her mother neglected her as a child, and she was placed in foster care. Social Services wants to place the baby with the grandmother even though many years ago the grandmother was responsible for the death of a baby by neglect. The grandmother argues that she is now a responsible caretaker and has kicked her old habits. Grandparent placements are very common in situations where a parent is incapable of properly caring for a child, and a judge has discretion to decide where the child shall be placed. In Pennsylvania, a child is adjudicated dependant who:

1. is without proper parental care of control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care of control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health, or morals. A determination that there is a lack of proper parental care of control may be based upon evidence of conduct by the parent, guardian or other custodian that places the health, safety or welfare of the child at risk, including evidence of the parent's, guardian’s or other custodian's use of alcohol or a controlled substance that places the health, safety, or welfare of the child at risk;

2. has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law;

3. has been abandoned by his parents, guardian, or other custodian;

4. is without a parent, guardian, or legal custodian;

5. while subject to compulsory school attendance is habitually and without justification truant from school;

6. has committed a specific act or acts of habitual disobedience of the reasonable and lawful command of his parent, guardian or other custodian and who is ungovernable and found to be in need of care, treatment or supervision;

7. is under the age of ten years and has committed a delinquent act;

8. has been formerly adjudicated dependant, and is under the jurisdiction of the court, subject to its conditions or placements and who commits an act which is defined as ungovernable in paragraph (6);

9. has been referred pursuant to section 6323 (relating to informal adjustment), and who commits an act which is defined as ungovernable in paragraph (6); or

10. is born to a parent whose parental rights with regard to another child have been involuntarily terminated under 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511 (relating to grounds for involuntary termination) within three years immediately preceding the date of birth of the child and conduct of the parent poses risk to the health, safety or welfare of the child.

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