The ‘Men In Trees’ actor has been locked in a dispute with his late former partner’s other son, Homer Laffoon, since the ‘Donnie Brasco’ died following a car accident in August and a judge in California has now found not enough evidence had been provided to stop Homer from being appointed legal guardian of his 13-year-old half-brother.

During a short tense hearing in Los Angeles, Judge Lee Bogdanoff reprimanded James who was accompanied to court by Atlas and his lawyer, Christopher Johnson – over his requests to have 20-year-old Homer removed as administrator of Anne’s estate.

Homer’s lawyer, Bryan L. Phipps, said in a statement after Tuesday’s (11.10.22) hearing: “We are pleased but not surprised with the court’s ruling this morning denying James’ petition to appoint himself guardian ad litem for Atlas. We look forward to the court resolving Homer’s petition at the next hearing and, in the meantime, Homer will continue to diligently administer the Estate pursuant to his authority as Special Administrator.”

He said: “We’re not nominating, we’re not deciding who’s the greatest person here. In order to prevent disappointment as administrator, I’d have to find that there are grounds for his removal. That’s fraud, conflict of interest, doing something terrible.”

But when he argued Homer wasn’t qualified to be administrator, the judge said: “Sir, in California if you’re illiterate you can be an administrator. Ok? If you can’t read, you’ve never gone to college, you can be an administrator. Ok? The fact that he may be generation Z or whatever, or maybe he’s a chill guy, that doesn’t disqualify him. Maybe he’s not the greatest communicator, that doesn’t disqualify him.

James’ lawyer interjected, arguing that “the issue is the way he’s treated Atlas so far” as he claimed Homer hadn’t been communicating with his brother and had denied him access to their mother’s apartment.

“He changed the locks. Somebody dies tragically and suddenly. There’s a grey area to what he can and can’t do. Everybody’s trying to figure it out.” He then told the lawyer he felt he was largely wasting his time.He said: “We’re not here to pick like the best person. I’m here to decide if he’s qualified, or disqualified.”James then infuriated the judge by shaking his head.

The judge blasted:”Why are you shaking your head? It’s very disrespectful. Don’t shake your head at me  ever if you’re going to appear again. Please take your hands out of your pockets, sir. You wanna say something?”

The actor replied: “Sure. I don’t feel that his older brother is going to look out for him. We’ve waited two months to get into the apartment.” He then claimed Homer was treating his half-sibling like they were “enemies” and argued the situation was “complicating everything” for his grief-stricken son. Another hearing will take place on 30 November.

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