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James v. Richman

Case Conclusion Date: 11.12.2008

Practice Area: Elder law

Outcome: Marshall, Parker & Associates win in this case has protected the life savings of thousands of community spouses throughout the United States

Description: My office won the landmark James v. Richman case in Federal District Court and the appeal in the Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals. This case held that the wife of husband of a nursing home resident could protect all of her savings by purchasing a Medicaid compliant annuity. When Robert James entered a nursing home, his wife, Josephine, had investments that were in excess of her allowed community spouse resource allowance. To spend down to the eligibility level, Mrs. James purchased an actuarially sound immediate annuity. The annuity complied with the requirements of Federal Medicaid law. However, at the time, Pennsylvania and many other states were not permitting the use of the annuity Medicaid Planning technique. When Mr. James thereafter applied for Medicaid benefits, his application was denied by the Luzerne County Assistance office. The denial notice specified that the immediate annuity owned by the community spouse was a countable asset – which meant the couple still had excess resources. Mr. and Mrs. James, represented by Marshall, Parker & Associates filed an action in Federal Court which challenged the denial as being in violation of preemptive federal Medicaid law. the Federal District Court agreed with Marshall, Parker & Associates and permanently enjoined the state from denying Medicaid benefits to Mr. James. The court's opinion is available at this link: Recognizing the importance of this case, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appealed to the Federal 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (one step below the United States Supreme Court). In November, 2008, in a precedential (binding on other courts in the Circuit) decision, the 3rd Circuit Court upheld Marshall & Associates arguments in favor of Mr. and Mrs. James. The Court's opinion is available at this link: James v. Richman has now been followed by numerous other courts throughout the country. It protects thousands of community spouses from financial devastation when their partner needs nursing home care. The lawyers at Marshall, Parker & Associates feel humbled and honored that our efforts have been able to have such a significant impact on protecting the financial security of so many seniors in the United States.

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