DETROIT — After learning that the parties had reached a settlement, a federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 22 dismissed with prejudice a breach of contract and indemnification lawsuit brought by a nursing home against a kitchen contractor following the 2012 death of a resident who ingested detergent. The settlement came a week after the judge denied the parties’ competing summary judgment motions, finding that triable issues exist (Watermark Senior Living Retirement Communities Inc. v. Morrison Management Specialists Inc., No. 17-11886, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234223).
LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana appeals court on Dec. 9 affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of a petition filed by a decedent’s adult children seeking to annul their father’s updated will and family trust, concluding that while the decedent had been diagnosed with dementia, no evidence was presented that he did not understand what he was signing (In re Succession of Westerchil, No. 20-192, La. App., 3rd Cir., 2020 La. App. LEXIS 1785).
HAGATNA, Guam — An administrative law judge (ALJ) did not err in calculating the amount of a woman’s spousal Social Security benefit payment, a federal judge in Guam ruled Dec. 16, holding that the amount was correctly reduced because she applied for her own old-age benefits before reaching full retirement age (Eileen Manibusan v. Commissioner of Social Security, No. 19-150, D. Guam, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 236677).
LOS ANGELES — In light of a recent state Supreme Court ruling, a California appellate court on Dec. 15 affirmed its previous ruling that the purpose of a pension reform statute enacted to prevent abuse of the system by public employees justified the reduction of benefits to a retired fire department employee convicted of running an offshore gambling ring during work (Tod Hipsher v. Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, et al., No. B276486, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 1184).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Dec. 21 denied a motion to stay an October ruling denying class certification to residents of an assisted living facility who claim that the services the facility provides do not meet their needs, finding that the balance of hardships does not weigh in favor of a stay and that the case should proceed in the interest of judicial economy (William H. Bartels, et al. v. Saber Healthcare Group LLC, et al., No. 16-283, E.D. N.C., 2020, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 239516).
DENVER — Claims for compensatory relief under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) from political subdivision are not barred by the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act (CGIA) and age bias and retaliation claims for front pay are equitable under CADA, a split Colorado Supreme Court ruled Dec. 21 in an opinion addressing three issues that it stated were ones of first impression.
ATLANTA — A rehabilitation center employee had no expectation of privacy in a patient’s room, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Dec. 21, affirming a trial court’s denial of her motion to suppress the video from a surveillance camera that led to her being indicted for neglecting an elderly patient (Wanda Nuckles v. Georgia, No. S20G0492, Ga. Sup., 2020 Ga. LEXIS 927).
DETROIT — A Michigan Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 17 vacated two probate court decisions to issue protective orders that required patients needing long-term assisted care to turn over their assets and pay support to their spouses, finding that there was not enough evidence to support the argument that their physical conditions prevented them from managing their property and money and that the amounts paid to their spouses was excessive (In re Estate of Keith Norbert Schroeder, Nos. 351011, In re Estate of James E. Almy, No. 351012, Mich. App., 2020 Mich. App. LEXIS 8479).
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 16 entered a $3.2 million monetary judgment against an executive of a chain of hospice companies that was convicted in November 2019 of health care fraud, as well as paying and receiving illegal kickbacks as part of a $150 million scheme that involved falsely telling patients with long-term diseases that they had only six months to live, finding that the amount was equal to the proceeds he obtained from his conduct.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court on Dec. 16 overturned an appeals court decision that the state’s voiding statute did not apply to a will that did not satisfy the state’s requirements for the signature of witnesses, finding that the only witness to the unsigned will was the person who would benefit from it (In re: Estate of Shaffer, No. 2019-364, Ohio Sup., 2020 Ohio LEXIS 2788).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 9 granted final approval of a $30.2 million settlement reached in two consolidated class lawsuits, one of which was litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court, against Kelsey-Hayes Co. and related companies concerning the duration of collectively bargained retiree health care.
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Dec. 14 denied motions for summary judgment filed by the parties in a breach of contract and indemnification lawsuit brought by a nursing home against a kitchen contractor following the 2012 death of a resident who ingested detergent she was able to obtain from a cabinet, finding that the contractor is not barred from raising a laches defense and that triable issues exist on the claims between the parties (Watermark Senior Living Retirement Communities Inc. v. Morrison Management Specialists Inc., No. 17-11886, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234223).
TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court on Dec. 11 reinstated a woman’s appeal over the settlement of her father’s estate and her sister’s withdrawal as the executrix of the estate after finding that an appeals panel erred when ruling that it lacked jurisdiction over the suit and that the woman’s post-trial motions for reconsideration before the trial court tolled the limitations for her appeal (In re Estate of Lanny Lentz, No. 118,307, Kan. Sup., 2020 Kan. LEXIS 264).
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — A New York Supreme Court justice on Dec. 10 denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by four New York justices, all 70 or older, and one attorney alleging that the termination of their services, allegedly due to budgetary constraints from the novel coronavirus, constitutes age discrimination and violation of the state constitution, finding that there are sufficient claims to proceed.
NEW YORK — Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) will pay $700,000 and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC announced Dec. 11.
MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin appeals panel on Dec. 10 overturned the dismissal of a woman’s wrongful death claim against a corporation that operates a community-based residential facility (CBRF), finding that the corporation’s operation of the facility on the same property as a nursing home and hospital did not make it a health care provider under Wisconsin law (Estate of Anne Oros, et al. v. Divine Savior Healthcare Inc., et al., No. 2020AP202, Wis. App., Dept. 4, 2020 Wisc. App. LEXIS 577).
DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa appeals panel on Nov. 30 overturned a judge’s ruling modifying farm leases to an elderly man’s family members on the ground that there was no evidence that the agreed-upon rental rates were the result of fraud, deceit or duress and affirmed the judge’s decision to enter the lease agreements at the request of a conservator without making specific findings (In the matter of the guardianship and conservatorship of Marvin M. Jorgensen, No. 18-1235, Iowa App., 2020 Iowa App. LEXIS 1095).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Vermont man filed a petition for writ of certiorari on Nov. 24 in the U.S. Supreme Court asking the justices to rule on whether a Vermont statute provides an independent cause of action of maladministration of an estate that may be brought in a federal court and, if there is any question on whether it did, if a question should have been certified to the Vermont Supreme Court (Albert Von Weingarten v. Lonnie Chester, No. 20-754, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. S. CT. BRIEFS LEXIS 7420).
ATLANTA — After hearing oral arguments in September in an appeal by a Georgia nursing home challenging an appellate panel’s affirmance of alleged race-based decisions related to the makeup of the jury and the resulting wrongful death verdict against it, the Georgia Supreme Court on Dec. 7 denied the petition for certiorari (Lowndes County Health Services, LLC v. Gregory Copeland, et al., Nos. S20C0425/S20G0425, Ga. Sup.).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Kentucky Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 4 affirmed the denial of a motion to compel arbitration of a negligence and wrongful death suit against the owners and operators of a nursing home, agreeing with the trial court that the deceased resident’s son signed a voluntary arbitration agreement on his own and not his father’s behalf (Providence Healthcare of Pine Meadows, LLC, et al. v. Keith Roark, No. 2020-CA-117, Ky. App., 2020 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 784).