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Han’s partner faces complaint in probate case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The estate of the late civil rights attorney Mary Han has alleged that her law partner, former Supreme Court Justice Paul Kennedy, failed to make a full accounting or pay the fair value of Han’s part of the business while he was personal representative of the estate.

Kennedy was personal representative of the estate for 10 months after Han’s unexpected death on Nov. 18, 2010.

Han died without a will. The complaint, filed in the pending 2010 probate case, alleges Kennedy did not inform Han’s daughter that he was seeking appointment as personal representative, and that he did not produce an inventory and appraisal of Han’s property, as required by the Probate Code.

Han’s daughter, Katherine Han-Noggle, succeeded Kennedy as personal representative, but resigned so Han’s sister, Elizabeth Wallbro, could take over.

Han and Kennedy were in private practice in the law firm known as Kennedy & Han P.C.

The complaint says the estate has asked for information and accounts from Kennedy, including uncollected professional fees earned by Han at the time of her death, information on the contingency fee cases on which she was lead attorney, and other information and accounts. However, Kennedy has “made it impossible to determine the assets of the estate and their value,” says the complaint, filed by Leonard Espinosa and Richard Barish.

In an answer filed Friday by attorneys Charles Peifer and Elizabeth Radosevich, Kennedy responded that he “volunteered to open the estate and serve as personal representative of the estate without compensation” and continued to serve until Han-Noggle made arrangements for a substitute. Han-Noggle consented to the appointment and thanked him for doing so, the answer says.

Virtually all realty and financial assets have been transferred to Han-Noggle, according to the answer, but Wallbro has refused to cooperate in the transfer of the remaining assets.

Furthermore, Han-Noggle waived any requirement for an accounting when she assumed duties as personal representative in September 2011, the document says.

As for shares in Kennedy & Han, the answer says Wallbro “engaged multiple attorneys who have been terminated or resigned from their representation of the estate,” nor has the estate been cooperative in trying to resolve the matter.