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IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF KING
)
IN RE ESTATE OF )
) No. 17-4-02196-0 SEA
LEEANNA RUTH MICKELSON )
)
)
)
)
)
)
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
DIVISION ONE
HEATHER JEAN ELSIE LINCOLN )
BENEDICT, ) To be filed in:
Appellant, ) Court of Appeals No.:
) 77076-4-I
v. )
)
JAMES ALBERT MICKELSON, )
)
Respondent.
)
)
IN RE ESTATE OF LEANNA RUTH )
MICKELSON )
)

VERBATIM REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS
(FROM TAPED PROCEEDINGS)
VOLUME IV
BE IT REMEMBERED that the foregoing and numbered proceeding
was heard on July 26, 2017, before THE HONORABLE CARLOS
VELATEGUI, Commissioner.
KENYON LUCE, Attorney at Law, 4505 Pacific Highway E.,
Suite A, Fife, WA 98424, appearing on behalf of James
Mickelson.

(Proceedings transcribed by: Adrienne Kuehl)
WHEREUPON, the following proceedings were had and done,
to wit;

CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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INDEX

Colloquy, pages 56-65.

CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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EXHIBITS

Offered Admitted Denied

None admitted.

CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 THE COURT: Mickelson.

2 MR. LUCE: Matter’s ready, Your Honor.

3 THE COURT: I think she’s not going to be here today.

4 MR. LUCE: I believe that to be true.

5 THE COURT: Yeah. And the Court’s opinion of this

6 case is that she files the Notices of Unavailability simply

7 for the purpose of delay and harassment. And the Court

8 indicated in its order setting this case that if she failed

9 to appear, um, the Court would simply hear the matter on

10 affidavits.

11 I’ve read all of the affidavits and have determined to

12 award the fees that you have requested that are related to

13 the probate in King County. I can’t award fees that relate

14 to an action in another county. That would be up to the

15 judge or commissioner in that county to award.

16 So if you’ll do the appropriate addition and

17 subtraction and insert the numbers on that working page for

18 me, we’ll deal with that.

19 And then on another matter, in the Mickelson case, uh,

20 as I was signing orders that come via the Clerk in a folder

21 yesterday, I notice that Ms. Benedict has, um, sent to the

22 Court an order to open a safe deposit box to locate a will.

23 MR. LUCE: Yes, sir.

24 THE COURT: You’ve received that?

25 MR. LUCE: Yes, I have.
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 THE COURT: And am I correct in recalling that it

2 appears to be on a calendar note for some time in October?

3 MR. LUCE: October 4th, I believe, Your Honor.

4 THE COURT: October 4th. And is this a safe deposit

5 box that the Estate had control over --

6 MR. LUCE: Yes.

7 THE COURT: -- in any way?

8 MR. LUCE: Yes, sir.

9 THE COURT: I see.

10 MR. LUCE: It was jointly held between husbands and

11 wives. When she obtained her Letters Testamentary, she

12 went to the bank and was denied access. She was then

13 removed. And now she’s filed this motion to gain access to

14 it again.

15 THE COURT: And has the Estate accessed the safe

16 deposit box?

17 MR. LUCE: Yes, Your Honor, it has.

18 THE COURT: Is it empty?

19 MR. LUCE: Yes, it is.

20 THE COURT: Yeah. And, um -- um -- um, she’s noted it

21 for a hearing in October. Um, and she’s not the Personal

22 Representative, and so she has no authority to access that

23 box?

24 MR. LUCE: That is correct.

25 THE COURT: Was that box accessed pursuant to a
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 probate in Pierce County?

2 MR. LUCE: No, sir. It was accessed because the

3 surviving spouse had access to it, and either party is

4 allowed access, should one pass away.

5 THE COURT: I see. And what -- what is the current

6 status of the Pierce County proceedings?

7 MR. LUCE: The Pierce County matter is appeal to the

8 Court of Appeals Division II. The two King County matters

9 are on appeal to Division I.

10 THE COURT: And the -- the -- the Pierce County action

11 is again what, for the record?

12 MR. LUCE: The Pierce County action, the King County

13 actions are specifically all for the same purpose and

14 reason.

15 THE COURT: So the -- the Pierce County action was --

16 is a probate; is that right?

17 MR. LUCE: Uh, that’s correct. Finding of heirship

18 and a determination of intestacy.

19 THE COURT: And that was filed by whom?

20 MR. LUCE: That was filed by Ms. Mickelson in -- on

21 May 16th of 2016 in Cause Number 16-4-00861-8. Petition for

22 Adjudication and Heirship -- Intestacy and Heirship. And

23 it was dismissed on June 17th.

24 THE COURT: And that was dismissed because?

25 MR. LUCE: There’s lack of standing and there’s no
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 need for probate to occur.

2 THE COURT: And the no need for the probate was the

3 result of what -- what finding?

4 MR. LUCE: The finding is that the parties had

5 executed a validly -- executed Community Property

6 Agreement, transferring all property separate and community

7 now owned or hereafter acquired to the other, upon the

8 passing of one.

9 THE COURT: I see. And so the Pierce County Court --

10 trial court level determined that no probate was

11 appropriate?

12 MR. LUCE: Correct.

13 THE COURT: And they dismissed the probate?

14 MR. LUCE: That’s correct.

15 THE COURT: Okay.

16 MR. LUCE: She appealed it on July 13th of 2016 to

17 Division II. Matter still pending.

18 THE COURT: Okay. And then in King County, she

19 attempted to open another probate; is that correct?

20 MR. LUCE: That’s correct. In November 14th of 2016,

21 she opened King County Cause 16-4-06644-2, Petition for

22 Adjudication Intestacy and Heirship.

23 THE COURT: And --

24 MR. LUCE: It was dismissed on January 3rd, 2017.

25 THE COURT: Now, in -- in those Petitions for
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 Adjudication and Heirship, there is no -- there is no

2 requirement that the Petitioner, um -- um, give notice to

3 anyone in anticipation of that filing?

4 MR. LUCE: Prior to filing, that’s correct.

5 THE COURT: Yes. That’s correct. And, uh, then, once

6 filed, she is required to send notice to the heirs?

7 MR. LUCE: That’s correct.

8 THE COURT: And that was done?

9 MR. LUCE: That was done.

10 THE COURT: And then you appeared.

11 MR. LUCE: I did so.

12 THE COURT: And you asked the Court to dismiss the

13 case, or -- I don’t recall exactly your motion.

14 MR. LUCE: It was a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of

15 Necessity and it was granted.

16 THE COURT: And there was already an action pending in

17 Pierce County, by the way.

18 MR. LUCE: That is correct.

19 THE COURT: For the same relief --

20 MR. LUCE: Correct.

21 THE COURT: -- that she was pursuing through the Court

22 of Appeals.

23 MR. LUCE: Correct.

24 THE COURT: So in the case up here, I think I actually

25 simply removed her, or there were two cases here?
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 MR. LUCE: No, the --

2 THE COURT: So the first case, did I dismiss it?

3 MR. LUCE: Yes, sir. You dismissed it. And one hour

4 later after the dismissal -- dismissal of her Petition for

5 Revision, she filed in King County a Petition for Letters

6 of Administration and Nonintervention Powers without notice

7 or advising the Court of the Petition. Dismissal

8 requesting the same relief that had just minutes before

9 been denied and was appointed Personal Representative a few

10 days later in Cause Number 17-4-02196-0.

11 THE COURT: And then we had a hearing on that

12 eventually because you received notice and brought some

13 motion; is that right?

14 MR. LUCE: That’s correct. A Motion to Revoke Letters

15 Testamentary to remove her was granted on May 31st by this

16 Court.

17 THE COURT: And I appointed your client, the surviving

18 spouse --

19 MR. LUCE: Correct.

20 THE COURT: -- as the Personal Representative of the

21 Estate.

22 MR. LUCE: Correct.

23 THE COURT: And said do what you will with it, but I’m

24 tired of dealing with her.

25 MR. LUCE: And the she filed a Motion for Revision of
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 your Order. And that was denied.

2 THE COURT: Yeah. And now she has, uh, on at least

3 more than one occasion, indicated her unavailability to do

4 anything unless it’s on a date that she notes a motion.

5 MR. LUCE: That is apparently correct, Your Honor,

6 yes.

7 THE COURT: And now she’s also filed a Petition to

8 open the safe deposit box for which she has no standing.

9 I’d be surprised if the safe deposit box even exists any

10 longer, unless your client has decided to keep it in his

11 own name. And she has no standing to do that.

12 MR. LUCE: That is my belief also.

13 THE COURT: And Counsel, I’m not inclined for the

14 Court to waste its time having another hearing on a matter

15 over which she has no standing and is filed for the purpose

16 of simply harassing and delaying these proceedings, and

17 flaunting the authority of the Court to appoint a Personal

18 Representative in a probate matter that she opened.

19 And so here, I have in front of me this Ordre to Open

20 Safe Deposit Box that she sent via the Clerk without notice

21 and without a hearing. Um, oh, I will -- I will correct

22 something. She did -- she can’t really follow the

23 incorrect procedure, because there is a note for motion

24 setting the matter for October 4th. And as it turns out,

25 the Clerk probably doesn't notice these things, sends them
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 down because that’s what they were directed to do by Ms.

2 Mickelson, who if she understood the interface with the

3 Clerk’s Office, would have simply sent the Note for Motion,

4 and the Motion and the Proposed Order as a working paper to

5 the Court and would have filed it all with the Clerk.

6 So with that background, what I’m going to do is

7 indicate that the Court incorporates its oral opinion into

8 this Order that I have in my hand for -- for the opening of

9 the safe deposit box, and direct you to interlineate

10 language that denies the relief requested, as it violates

11 Civil Rule 11.

12 The Court is not going to waste its valuable time

13 hearing a useless motion designed simply to harass. And,

14 um, we’ll cite to the authority of -- oh, I don’t remember

15 all of the cases. But the earliest case I recall, which is

16 one that I was in the Court of Appeals with, In Re:

17 Marriage of Giordano, G-I-O-R-D-A-N-O, which indicates that

18 the Court can -- can control vexatious litigation and

19 wastes of the Court’s time.

20 And I’m going to, um, strike the hearing noted for the

21 4th. So you’ll have to put “Clerk’s Action Required” in the

22 caption.

23 And she’s wasted an hour of my time, and now 20

24 minutes of your time. I’m going to saction her $1,000 in

25 attorney’s fees in your favor.
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 And, um, I am also, by separate order, later in the

2 date at my convenience, going to sign an order in which I

3 direct the Clerk to accept no further pleadings from her in

4 this court. And to return them to her private mailbox,

5 which is listed on the bottom of her pleadings, rather than

6 accept them for filing.

7 So Counsel, you went to law school a number of years

8 ago, and have developed the drafting skills necessary.

9 Here’s the Order. Here’s your Order. I see the $23,654.01

10 that you have indicated are your legitimate fees, and which

11 I accept as legitimate. She’s given only a summary, um,

12 vituperous objection to your fees, which the Court finds

13 inadequate. And I have reviewed their fees and found them

14 to be reasonable.

15 MR. LUCE: I would ask you to find that the amount of

16 $256.50, which was labeled on the summary that I gave to

17 you as being involved in responding to a Bar complaint that

18 she has filed --

19 THE COURT: Yeah, we’ve --

20 MR. LUCE: -- be not considered.

21 THE COURT: Right, that’s correct. We’re not

22 considering those fees, as you have indicated in your

23 supplemental pleadings. Those are not properly billable.

24 MR. LUCE: Thank you, Your Honor.

25 THE COURT: You’re welcome. Oh, the Clerk will give
CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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1 you the times on this so that should you wish to order up a

2 CD for $25 bucks from the Clerk upstairs, you’ll have it on

3 the revision motion that I’m sure she’s going to attempt to

4 file.

5 MR. LUCE: Thank you, Your Honor.

6 THE COURT: You’re welcome.

7 So she can file a Motion for Revision and she can file

8 a Notice of Appeal, which I can’t prevent her from filing.

9 But at least in terms of motions in these court, I’ve

10 decided that she’s finished.

11 (END OF RECORDING)

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CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062
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C E R T I F I C A T E

STATE OF WASHINGTON )
) ss.
County of PIERCE )

I, the undersigned, do hereby certify:

That the foregoing Audio Transcription of the above

was transcribed under my direction; that the transcript is

a full, true and complete transcript of the proceedings,

including all questions, objections, motions and

exceptions; except for those portions shown as Inaudible,

if any;

That I am not a relative, employee, attorney or

counsel of any party to this action or relative or employee

of any such attorney or counsel, and that I am not

financially interested in the said action or the outcome

thereof; That I am herewith delivering the same for filing

with the court.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this 8th Day of September, 2017.

/s/ Adrienne Kuehl
Adrienne Kuehl, Residing
At Tacoma, Washington.

CATHERINE M. VERNON & ASSOCIATES, LLC
3641 North Pearl Street, Building D, Tacoma, WA 98407 - (253) 627-2062