My father is 89 with Alzheimer's, and is being sued, should I respond for him or not?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Granada Hills, CA

he has no assets, he is on Medicaid, has only social security as income, lives in a nursing home. the lawsuit is for unspecified damages regarding a business deal he may have been involved in during 2007, which I can't ask him about because of the Alzheimer's, the nursing home just forwarded me the summons today though they received it on Nov 28 and I have until Dec 28 to answer
merry christmas

Additional information

the lawsuit is filed in Riverside County, Ca and my father lives in Los Angeles County, Ca

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Crosby Scott Connolly

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . Merry Christmas to you too! Sorry to hear about this situation. You should immediately contact a local attorney that is well versed in breach of contract cases - as this sounds like a breach of contracts matter. Also, depending on the cause of action, the statute of limitations may have already ran, which would protect your father from unwarranted litigation. How much in damages in the complaint seeking? If you don't respond to the complaint within 30 days of being served, Plaintiff can request the court to enter into a default judgment. If the Plaintiff then get s a writ of execution from the court, they could attempt to go after your father's assets - but from what you said, they may not get much as your father has little to no assets. A default is worst case scenario though, and as such, you should contact an attorney in your area after Christmas. Good luck!

    Hyde & Swigart is a law firm concentrating its efforts in the area of consumer law, the Fair Debt Collection... more
  2. Neil Pedersen

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . This issue is complicated by the fact that because your father is mentally incapacitated, you will likely have to first have a conservatorship put in place before anyone can act on his behalf. You cannot act on his behalf unless you are the conservator of his estate, or if he signed a power of attorney when he was still mentally competent.

    I would inform the opposing counsel of the situation. Tell him about the Alzheimers and the no asset nature of your father's estate. If you are absolutely convinced that there are no assets for the plaintiff to pursue, then it might be prudent to just let the plaintiff get a judgment that is worthless.

    It would be prudent to bring these issues to an attorney to get some comprehensive advice before pulling the trigger on any particular strategy.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more
  3. Nicholas Basil Spirtos

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You will not be able to answer any lawsuit for your father unless you are an attorney.
    If you are not, then you need to take the summons and complaint to an attorney for a review.
    The fact that your father is not competent and has no assets may be enough to get the other party to drop the lawsuit, but maybe not. There could also be several other defenses available to your father, and other options, depending on the suit.
    Contact an attorney. Many will give brief consultations without charge.

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