The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rules that the son of a nursing home resident does not have standing to challenge the dischargeability of his brother’s debt to the nursing home because he is not a creditor of his mother. In re: Skinner (U.S. Ct. App., 3rd Cir., No. 15-2590, March 4, 2016).
Dorothy Skinner lived in an assisted living facility until she was evicted for non-payment. The facility sued Ms. Skinner’s sons, Thomas and William, under Pennsylvania’s filial responsibility law. The court entered a default judgment against Thomas for $32,224.56. Thomas filed for bankruptcy and sought to discharge the debt.
William filed a claim in the bankruptcy court, arguing that Thomas’s debt was non-dischargeable because it resulted from fraud and embezzlement. William argued that Thomas used their mother’s assets for his personal expenses, so if William was liable to the assisted living facility, he was entitled to be reimbursed by Thomas. A U.S. bankruptcy court dismissed the claim, holding that William did not have standing because he was not a creditor of the debtor, and a U.S. district court affirmed. William appealed.
The U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, affirms, holding that William does not have standing to challenge the dischargeability of Thomas’s debts. The court rules that Pennsylvania’s filial support law does not support William’s claim because there is no right of contribution or indemnification under the support law. In addition, the court concludes that William does not have a claim against Thomas under the state’s fraudulent transfer act because he is not a creditor of his mother.
For the full text of this decision, go to: http://www2.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/152590np.pdf