Argued: September 11, 2018
S. Hewes, Esq. (orally), South Portland, for appellant David
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Cody M.P. Hopkins, Asst.
Atty. Gen. (orally), Office of the Attorney General, Augusta,
for appellee Department of Health and Human Services.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
David P. appeals from a judgment of the Cumberland County
Probate Court [Mazziotti, J.) appointing the
Department of Health and Human Services as his limited public
guardian pursuant to 18-A M.R.S. § 5-601 (2017). The
Probate Court did not make any findings of fact in its final
order,  and David did not request findings of fact
pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 52(a) after the Probate Court
entered its judgment. See M.R. Prob. P. 52
(providing that M.R. Civ. P. 52 applies in probate
proceedings). Accordingly, we will assume that the trial
court made all of the factual findings, to the extent those
assumed facts are supported by competent record evidence, to
support its judgment. See Ehret v. Ehret,
2016 ME 43, ¶ 9, 135 A.3d 101; Gehrke v.
Gehrke, 2015 ME 58, ¶ 8, 115 A.3d 1252.
David contends that there was insufficient evidence to
support the Probate Court's decision and that the Probate
Court erred when it admitted in evidence a written report
drafted by a psychologist. Although we agree that the Probate
Court erred by admitting the psychologist's written
report, we conclude that the error was harmless and that
there was sufficient competent evidence in the record to
support the Probate Court's decision. Therefore, we
affirm the Probate Court's judgment.
In August 2017, the Department filed a petition for a public
guardian to be appointed for David. See 18-A M.R.S.
§ 5-303 (2017). A one-day trial was held on February 22,
2018, where the Probate Court heard testimony from four
witnesses, including a psychologist. The following facts are
taken from the testimony of the witnesses at trial and are
not contested on appeal.
Roughly a month before trial, the Department hired a clinical
psychologist to evaluate David. The psychologist performed a
one-hour evaluation of David on January 22, 2018. During his
evaluation, the psychologist performed cognitive tests on
David that indicated the presence of dementia, but the
psychologist was unable to determine the degree of dementia
present. Following his evaluation and a review of multiple
medical reports, the psychologist rendered his opinion, in
which he concluded that David needed a guardian. The
psychologist testified that he came to this conclusion
not based on my immediate interview with [David], but rather
based on the . . . medical history . . . and the condition of
deterioration of his health and his hygiene when he's on
his own. ... [S]o my conclusion that [David] needed a
guardian is because of the... repetitive history of really
falling into a serious medical crisis as a result of failure
to take care of himself.
conjunction with this testimony, the Department offered the
psychologist's written report in evidence, and it was
admitted over David's objection. The Probate Court
entered a judgment appointing the Department as David's
limited public guardian, and David brought this timely
In this appeal, David raises two issues: (1) whether the
Probate Court erred by admitting the psychologist's
written report and (2) whether there was sufficient evidence
to support the Probate Court's decision. Because we
conclude that there was more than sufficient evidence to
support the Probate Court's appointment of a limited
public guardian for David, we ...