Mealey's Elder Law

  • June 17, 2024

    Judge Dismisses Hurricane Laura Coverage Suit After Parties Announce Settlement

    LAKE CHARLES, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on June 14 dismissed without prejudice a retirement community insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its Hurricane Laura damage after the parties announced they reached a settlement.

  • June 17, 2024

    Decedent’s Heir Seeks Florida High Court Review Of Ruling Affirming Foreclosure

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — An heir to a man who died during foreclosure proceedings against his property seeks discretionary review from the Florida Supreme Court of a Florida appellate court’s ruling affirming a foreclosure judgment on the decedent’s homestead, asserting that review is warranted because the ruling conflicts with other rulings of the Florida Supreme Court and Florida appellate and trial courts.

  • June 14, 2024

    Panel: Lower Court Wrongly Found Arbitration Binding In Suit Against Care Home

    CLEVELAND — An Ohio appellate court on June 13 reversed and remanded a lower court’s ruling that found an arbitration agreement binding for a survivorship claim in a suit filed against a nursing home by the administrator of the estate of a former resident, finding that the lower court erred in requiring arbitration of the claim because the administrator lacked authority to enter into the arbitration agreement.

  • June 13, 2024

    Dismissal Of Bad Faith Claim Denied In Estate Row With Insurer Over ‘Total Loss’

    SCRANTON, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 12 denied a homeowners insurer’s motion to dismiss a bad faith claim in a suit filed against it by the estate of a woman alleging that the insurer’s failure to pay a claim for water damage resulted in the property being “a total loss,” finding dismissal inappropriate at this point in the litigation.

  • June 12, 2024

    Massachusetts AG Announces $4M Understaffing Settlement With Care Home Operator

    BOSTON — Following an investigation into understaffing at nursing homes operated by Next Step Healthcare LLC, the Massachusetts attorney general announced that specified state agencies and her office, in its largest nursing home settlement, resolved allegations of nursing home neglect regarding Next Step’s failure to protect residents at the 16 nursing homes it operates, requiring Next Step and related parties to pay $4 million and to fund and participate in compliance monitoring to improve staffing levels.

  • June 11, 2024

    Colorado High Court: Privilege Between Physician And Patient ‘Survives’ Death

    DENVER — A unanimous Colorado Supreme Court on June 10 discharged a rule to show cause and lifted a stay on a lower court’s in camera review of a decedent’s medical records in a dispute between siblings over the validity of their father’s most recent will, finding that though “the physician-patient privilege survives the privilege holder’s death,” disclosure of the decedent’s medical records is permitted under the testamentary exception if needed for estate administration.

  • June 11, 2024

    Judge Partly Denies Insurer’s Summary Judgment Motion In Hurricane Laura Dispute

    LAKE CHARLES, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana held that whether an insured’s submitted additional damages or mitigation expenses may be considered within its original loss event or as a separate loss event is inherently a fact question that is contingent on the state of repairs or mitigation of the insured property when Hurricane Delta occurred, partly denying an insurer’s motion in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Laura.

  • June 10, 2024

    Judge Rules In Favor Of Senior Care Liability Insurer In Dispute With Nursing Home

    CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge granted a senior care liability insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its declaratory judgment lawsuit disputing coverage for an underlying $3.3 million default judgment entered against a nursing home insured, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify the insured in the underlying lawsuit brought under Illinois’ Nursing Home Care Act and Wrongful Death Act.

  • June 10, 2024

    Seniors Sue Wells Fargo For Fraud In $300M Ponzi Scheme Involving Insurers

    MIAMI — Two seniors filed a putative class action against Wells Fargo in a Florida federal court for its role in allegedly aiding and abetting fraud in a “massive” Ponzi scheme purportedly orchestrated by owners of insurers, some of whom are now in receivership, resulting in elderly investor victims losing more than $300 million after scheme operators sold them promissory notes secured by collateral in stranger-oriented life insurance policies (STOLIs).

  • June 06, 2024

    U.S. High Court Affirms 8th Circuit Ruling In Row Over Estate Tax, Share Valuation

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 6 unanimously affirmed an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision upholding a district court’s ruling granting summary judgment to the U.S. government in a dispute over its determination that an estate owed an additional $889,914 in taxes, finding that the contractual obligation to redeem the shares of the decedent by the corporation he jointly owned with his surviving brother did not reduce the value of those shares.

  • June 04, 2024

    Iowa High Court Reverses Lower Court Ruling For New Trial In Heirs’ Dispute

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court reversed and remanded a lower court judgment that granted in part a dismissal motion and ordered a new trial in a will contest between a decedent’s six children, finding that the movant was not entitled to a new trial due to a failure to join indispensable parties because the daughter who consented to dismissal of claims against her had previously participated in the litigation.

  • May 31, 2024

    Judge Orders Brian Wilson’s Co-Conservators To File Level Of Care Determination

    LOS ANGELES — After co-conservators for Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, signed letters of conservatorship, a California state court judge on May 30 issued an order requiring the co-conservators to consult with Wilson’s children regarding health care decisions and to file within 60 days a determination of the conservatee’s appropriate level of care.

  • May 31, 2024

    Judge Tosses Seniors’ Suit Against Oklahoma Officials Who Denied Medicaid Benefits

    OKLAHOMA CITY— An Oklahoma federal judge dismissed with prejudice a suit filed on behalf of three senior citizens whose applications for long-term care Medicaid benefits were denied, finding that the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) did not violate federal law by requesting information about the seniors’ asset transfers and associated promissory notes because the requested information the seniors failed to provide was necessary to determine Medicaid eligibility (Penelope Lamle, et al. v. Deborah Shropshire, et al., No. 22-391, W.D. Okla., 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95213).

  • May 29, 2024

    Maine High Court Affirms Ruling That Residual Estate Passes To Decedent’s Daughter

    PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a probate court’s ruling that a decedent’s daughter is the beneficiary of the decedent’s residual estate, finding that because the probated will did not address disposition of the residuary estate if the decedent survived her husband, who predeceased her, the probate court correctly determined that pursuant to intestate succession, the decedent’s daughter is the beneficiary of the residual estate.

  • May 28, 2024

    Illinois High Court Hears Arguments In Row Over Care Facilities’ COVID Immunity

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in estates’ appeal of an appellate court decision answering in the affirmative a question certified to it from a lower court after modifying it to ask whether a specific executive order issued by the Illinois governor grants “immunity for ordinary negligence claims to healthcare facilities that rendered assistance to the State during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

  • May 24, 2024

    LTC Insurer Gets Extension To Answer Class Complaint Alleging Unfair Rate Hikes

    CHICAGO — In a docket entry, an Illinois federal judge granted a long-term care (LTC) insurer an extension to answer an amended complaint in a putative class action alleging that the insurer sought premium increases in different states and for different amounts without considering policy language prohibiting nonuniform rate increases.

  • May 21, 2024

    Federal Jury Finds Nashville Deputy Fire Marshal Subjected To Age, Gender Bias

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal jury in Tennessee returned a verdict largely for a Nashville deputy fire marshal who alleged that she was prevented from becoming the fire department’s first female fire marshal due to the “good ole boys club,” which resulted in a younger and less experienced male employee from another department being chosen for the job.

  • May 16, 2024

    Rehearing Sought For Ruling Affirming Issuance Of Elder Abuse Restraining Order

    SAN FRANCISCO — A son-in-law on May 15 petitioned for rehearing of a California appellate court’s ruling affirming a lower court’s order issuing a restraining order requested by the man’s mother-in-law pursuant to the California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. (Elder Abuse Act), finding that the order restricting the man’s possession of firearms and requiring him to move out of the family home was necessary to protect his mother-in-law from further abuse.

  • May 14, 2024

    Ohio Panel Affirms Ruling Reinstating Attorney As Estate Special Administrator

    MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — An Ohio appellate court on May 13 affirmed a lower court ruling granting a nursing home creditor’s motion for relief from a judgment, finding that the lower court did not err in granting the nursing home’s motion and reinstating the appointment of an attorney as special administrator for the estate in part because the surviving spouse was not entitled to be notified as to the attorney’s motion.

  • May 13, 2024

    Nebraska High Court Affirms Ruling Requiring Inheritance Tax To Be Paid By Trust

    LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Supreme Court on May 10 affirmed a lower court ruling requiring inheritance taxes to be paid by a trust that devised a decedent’s house to his girlfriend and the residuary to his three children, finding that the trust language clearly shows that the inheritance tax was to be paid out of the trust rather than pro rata, according to the individual beneficiaries.

  • May 13, 2024

    Judgment Issued In $2.5M Verdict Against Florida Care Home Over Fall Risk Injuries

    MIAMI — A Florida state court judge issued a final judgment the day after a jury returned a $2.5 million verdict against a nursing home accused of negligence in failing to implement a care plan for a former resident who fell and incurred facial and head injuries.

  • May 10, 2024

    California Judge Grants Conservatorship Of Brian Wilson To Publicist And Manager

    LOS ANGELES — A California state court judge on May 9 issued an order granting conservatorship of Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, to both his publicist and his business manager, finding that a conservatorship of the person is necessary to provide for the conservatee’s daily needs but that a conservatorship of the estate is not needed because the conservatee’s assets are held in a trust.

  • May 09, 2024

    Florida Panel Reverses Prior Ruling And Affirms Foreclosure On Decedent’s Property

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appellate court on May 8 withdrew its opinion that reversed a lower court’s judgment of foreclosure on the property of a decedent who died during foreclosure proceedings without a personal representative being appointed after his death, finding that because a homestead is not considered part of the probated estate, appointing a personal representative was not required.

  • May 08, 2024

    Panel: Lower Court Correctly Compelled Certain Parties To Arbitrate In Estate Row

    MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — An Ohio appellate court affirmed a lower court ruling that did not compel a decedent’s heirs to arbitration but compelled to arbitration the decedent’s investment account broker, the decedent’s estate and the church named as the beneficiary of the decedent’s investment accounts, finding that the broker did not waive the right to arbitration and the estate’s participation in “arbitration proceedings undermined its arguments regarding waiver.”

  • May 07, 2024

    Pa. Panel Affirms Judgment In Estate Row Between Decedent’s Husband And Brother

    PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania appellate court affirmed a lower court’s judgment in favor of a decedent’s husband, finding that the lower court correctly determined that Philadelphia’s rental license requirements were inapplicable to the husband’s ejectment action against the decedent’s brother because the decedent’s daughter was an owner of the property and not required to obtain a rental license for a tenant who is a family member.