Court battle after death of Eagles bassist’s wife

Lana and Randy Meisner are seen in a photo obtained by TMZ. She was killed Sunday, March 6, 2016, by what investigators are calling a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the couple's Studio City home. Randy Meisner, a former member of the Eagles, was hospitalized after "acting in an altered state," according to reports. (Photo courtesy of TMZ)

LOS ANGELES —The death of Lana Meisner, the wife of founding Eagles bassist Randy Meisner, has renewed an unusual court battle over a proposed temporary conservatorship for the musician and highlighted his troubled history and what some call the couple’s tumultuous marriage. A judge’s ruling granting the temporary conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court Friday is only the latest development in an ongoing dispute over who is best able to care for the bassist, who new court documents allege suffers from bipolar disorder, traumatic brain injury and substance abuse and has threatened to harm himself and others on several occasions.

On Friday, a Los Angeles judge granted Meisner’s request to appoint his friend Arthur Ford and his accountant Tom DeLong as the temporary conservators for his medical care and estate. In a rare move, days after his wife’s death in a gun accident last month, Randy Meisner asked a judge for the temporary conservatorship for himself, saying in a March 11 petition that he is “barely able to accept the sudden and tragic loss of his loving wife.”

Lana Meisner was killed March 6, when police say a shotgun she was moving accidentally fired. Randy Meisner, best known for co-writing and singing the Eagles hit “Take it to the Limit,” asked for his “trusted friends and advisers assist him with his own care, maintenance and support in his current state.”

Meisner’s friend Jim Newton agrees that Meisner, 70, is in need of a conservator. But in a Monday court filing, he objected to Ford and Delong as the appointees. Newton argues a combination of mental illness and serious substance abuse puts Meisner, and possibly others, at “substantial risk” — a risk, he says, which has been exacerbated by his wife’s death.

It’s the second time Newton has asked a judge to appoint an independent conservator for Meisner — his first request came last year, before Lana Meisner’s death.

In new documents filed Monday, Newton argues Ford is a friend from the music industry who doesn’t have the expertise required to care for Meisner. He says Ford would be a “sham conservator” who will submit to Meisner’s requests. The elections, he said, were filed “within a matter of days” of Meisner’s release from a psychiatric hold at a hospital in the wake of his wife’s death.

He also called into question Meisner’s ability to choose his own conservators.

Friday, a judge disagreed. He granted Meisner’s request to appoint Ford and Delong until May 25, when he’ll hear Newton’s cross-petition for a permanent conservatorship. Newton nominated a private professional fiduciary, a former social worker who specializes in mental health issues, to oversee Meisner’s health care and finances.

“We are very happy Randy now agrees he needs help,” Troy Martin, an attorney for Newton, told Crimesider. “Our only intention is ensuring he gets the kind of help he needs. Randy is a very sick man.”

It’s extremely rare for a person to request their own conservator, according to Howard Serbin, an Orange County, Calif. probate and elder law attorney. In California, conservatorships – called guardianships in other states – can be enacted to oversee the “person” or “estate” of someone who isn’t able to make decisions regarding their own health care or finances.