In Embassy Healthcare, D.B.A. Carlisle Manor Healthcare (Embassy) vs. Cora Sue Bell (Cora), decided in late 2018, an important decision was reached by the Supreme Court of Ohio regarding the issue of necessaries and how they are treated if the spouse who received the necessaries passes away before the necessaries are paid back.
“Necessaries” can be defined as food, shelter, clothing and medical services. The question decided was whether Embassy could bring suit against Cora for necessaries it provided to Cora’s spouse or was Embassy required to abide by the general statute for when a creditor must bring a claim against the estate of whom it had provided necessaries.
Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3103.3, regarding necessaries, states in part that, “each married person must support the person’s self and spouse out of the person’s property or by the person’s labor. If a married person is unable to do so, the spouse of the married person must assist in the support so far as the spouse is able.”
Also, at issue is RC 2117.06, which states in part that, “all creditors having claims against an estate…shall present their claims…within six months after the death of the decedent…” Further, “A claim that is not presented within six months after the death of the decedent shall be forever barred…”
Embassy, a nursing facility, supplied necessaries to Robert, Cora’s spouse, which necessaries were not paid for at the time of Robert’s passing. Cora even executed an agreement with Embassy as the “Responsible Party”.
Lower Courts ruled that Embassy could pursue a claim against Cora individually and was not restricted by the language in RC 2117.06.
The Supreme Court did not agree and held that by Embassy’s own agreement, the resident (Robert) was responsible for his own debt and could have brought suit against his estate. Since Embassy did not file a claim within six months of Robert’s passing, it was forever barred from doing so under RC 2117.06.