WASHINGTON, D.C. — A West Virginia statute that applies a state tax exemption only to certain state law enforcement employees discriminates against retired federal employees in violation of the intergovernmental tax immunity doctrine as codified at 4 U.S. Code Section 111, 4 U.S.C. § 111, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 20 (James Dawson, et al. v. Dale W. Steager, No. 17-419, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. LEXIS 1349).
CINCINNATI — A trial court erred when it ruled that lifetime health care benefits promised to Hoover Co. retirees in multiple collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) were unalterable as the obligation ended when the last CBA ended, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 15 (Joseph Zino, et al. v. Whirlpool Corp., et al., Nos. 17-3851/3860, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 4648).
PORTLAND, Maine — A decision to appoint two in-home caregivers co-guardianship of an elderly incapacitated adult in their care was vacated and remanded by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Feb. 12 because the duo failed to submit a guardianship plan or petition for guardianship before the ruling (Guardianship of Patricia S., No. Lin-18-38, Maine Sup., 2019 ME 23).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Feb. 15 affirmed a lower court’s order removing one son and subsequently appointing another son as health care power of attorney for their nonagenarian mother, finding that the lower court did not abuse its discretion in any of its underlying findings (In Re: Elsie Delevie. Appeal of: Raymond deLevie, M.D., No. 660 MDA 2018, Pa. Super., ; 2019 Pa. Super. LEXIS 133).
SAN FRANCISCO — Six doctors and a medical association say in a reply brief filed Feb. 7 in the California Supreme Court that they have public interest standing to challenge the constitutionality of California’s End of Life Options Act (EOLOA), which allows terminally ill patients who are mentally competent to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication, and that an answering brief filed by the state’s attorney general and Department of Public Health (DPH) creates an issue as to whether the judiciary must show deference to a prosecutor’s constitutional interpretation (Attorney General of the State of California, et al. v. Superior Court, No. S253424, Calif. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cynthia Bauerly, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue, tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a reply brief filed Feb. 4 that the state should be allowed to tax the out-of-state administrators of four trusts that were created by a Minnesota man in 2009 and who later released power over the trusts after they became irrevocable in 2011 because the trusts have significant connections with the state (Cynthia Bauerly v. William Fielding, et al., No. 18-664, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 227).
NEW ORLEANS — A copper tube plant worker who was fired at the age of 69 after being disciplined four times failed to show that her employer “acted in some manner of bad faith” when it considered the facts that led to the firing, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 12, affirming a summary judgment ruling for the employer on a claim of age discrimination (Margaret Sue Inmon v. Mueller Copper Tube Company, Incorporated, No. 18-60145, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 4223).
RICHMOND, Va. — Plaintiffs leading a proposed class action suit accusing a North Carolina nursing home of breaching the terms of resident contracts by failing to provide sufficient care tell the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 30 response brief that a federal judge’s ruling remanding the suit should be affirmed because he did not err when finding that nonsignatory defendants are alter egos of one another that can be bound to a forum-selection clause in the contracts (Joseph J. Pfohl, et al. v. Saber Healthcare LLC, et al., No. 18-2335, 4th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A woman who accused her younger brother of running her father’s estate “as his personal piggy bank” on Feb. 11 opposed a petition seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision to allow her to proceed with a claim for legal expenses incurred in filing her complaint under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (David D’Addario, et al. v. Virginia A. D’Addario, et al., No. 18-890, U.S. Sup.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A holographic will is invalid because it does not comport with West Virginia Code Section 41-1-3, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 11, upholding a summary judgment order that removed the instrument from probate, declared it null and void and ordered that a decedent’s estate be probated under the laws of intestacy (Tracie Wilson v. Tonya Parker, et al., No. 18-0156, W.Va. Sup., 2019 W. Va. LEXIS 23).
FRESNO, Calif. — An insured on Feb. 8 filed a notice to dismiss with prejudice his putative class lawsuit against his life insurer a little more than two weeks after a California federal judge granted the insurer's motion to dismiss his claims for unfair business practices and financial elder abuse (Gerald B. Rhinehart v. Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company, No. 18-01391, E.D. Calif.).
EDINBURG, Texas — In a Feb. 7 holding, a Texas appellate panel found no error in a trial court’s decision to grant a request by four adult children that their father’s marriage be voided on allegations of mental incapacity (In re: Estate of W. R. Durrill, No. 13-17-00431-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 821).
CHICAGO — Allegations by a son that the former operators of a nursing home facility where his mother died in 2014 acted negligently were rejected Jan. 29 by an Illinois appellate court based on undisputed evidence that the defendants in question transferred operation of the nursing home to an unrelated third party two years before the accused conduct (William Harris v. Symphony Countryside LLC, et al., No. 16 L 6058, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 127).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In an estate proceeding appeal brought by three of five adult children of a decedent, a Tennessee appeals court held Feb. 4 that the probate court’s order, stating the decedent’s intent to have real property administered as part of the estate by the personal representative, was premature due to ongoing proceedings in the decedent’s conservatorship case (In re estate of Mary Ruth Davis Hudson, No. E2018-00583-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2019 Tenn. App. LEXIS 62).
SAN FRANCISCO — An 81-year-old woman may proceed with a petition for a restraining order against her neighbor under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Elder Abuse Act) because the act doesn’t require a particular type of care-taking relationship between the abuser and victim, a California appellate panel ruled Jan. 28, reversing a trial court’s judgment (Jude Darrin v. Sandra J. Miller, No. A155089, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 641).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In a dispute between two step-siblings over their father’s estate, a Tennessee appeals panel held Jan. 25 that the preponderance of the evidence supports a lower court’s ruling that a decedent was domiciled in the state when he died (In re estate of Louis Dell’Aquila, No. M2018-01090-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2019 Tenn. App. LEXIS 34).
TOPEKA, Kan. — A per curiam panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals on Feb. 1 held that an individual adjudicated as impaired who sought termination of her guardianship and conservatorship failed to show, by clear and convincing evidence, that her impairment was temporary (In the Matter of the Guardianship and Conservatorship of Lois Crist, No. 118,973, Kan. App., 2019 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 46).
PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 31 upheld a California federal judge’s denial of a motion filed by the estate of model Anna Nicole Smith for relief from its previous ruling holding that she was not entitled to $474 million from her late husband’s estate, finding that modifications to a Texas probate court’s order by a Texas appeals court in 2015 did not warrant review because the modifications did not undermine the decision (In re: Vickie Lynn Marshall, No. 17-55789, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3194).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A panel for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Jan. 31 reversed a trial court’s ruling that a man lacked standing to probate the estate of the woman who raised him, remanding the case so that he can present evidence to support his claim that he was her child and heir as a matter of equity (In Re Estate of Rosa North Ford, et al., No. 17-PR-463, D.C. App., 2019 D.C. App. LEXIS 40).
CINCINNATI — A federal magistrate judge in Ohio on Jan. 28 recommended reversing the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) denial of a man’s request to withdraw his retirement benefits, stating that a rule implemented in December 2010 was improperly applied to his case (David Thomas Terwilliger v. Commissioner of Social Security, No. 18-cv-11, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13272).