Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren
CLASSIC HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS, LLC d.b.a. FRANKLIN RIDGE HEALTHCARE CENTER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
FAUN MIRACLE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
Cory Phillips, for plaintiff-appellant
W. Ruppert and Rachel M. Ruppert, for defendant-appellee
1} Plaintiff-appellant, Classic Healthcare Systems,
LLC d.b.a. Franklin Ridge Healthcare Center
("Franklin"), appeals from the decision of the
Warren County Common Pleas Court, which awarded it damages
against defendant-appellee, David Miracle. For the reasons
discussed below, we reverse the judgment of the trial court
and remand for further proceedings.
2} In 2010, Faun Miracle, age 83, fell and injured
herself. Faun's son, David, arranged for Faun to stay at
Franklin's skilled nursing facility while she
rehabilitated. David signed certain documents prepared by
Franklin relating to Faun's admission to its facility.
3} Both parties concur that David did not agree to
assume a personal financial responsibility for Faun's
charges at Franklin's facility in any of the documents.
However, David signed a document in which he agreed to
"utilize" Faun's assets over which he had
control to pay for Franklin's services.
4} Although Faun's stay was intended to be
temporary, she remained at Franklin's facility for four
years. David, who was Faun's attorney-in-fact pursuant to
a power of attorney, managed Faun's financial resources
during this time, including her checking account. David used
Faun's checking account to make various payments on her
behalf, including paying health insurance premiums and the
maintenance costs of Faun's properties.
5} Franklin charged Faun approximately $5, 000 per
month. Franklin sent monthly invoices to David. Over
Faun's four-year stay, David paid Franklin infrequently
and always less than the overdue balance. Ultimately, Faun
owed Franklin over $100, 000 by the time she was discharged
in or around April 2014.
6} In November 2014, Franklin sued Faun and David.
Franklin asserted a breach of contract claim against Faun for
nonpayment. Franklin asserted a breach of contract claim
against David alleging that he breached a promise to utilize
Faun's assets to pay for Franklin's services.
7} Faun passed away before the trial commenced.
Franklin dismissed its claims against Faun and tried its
claims against David before a magistrate in November 2015. At
trial, Franklin introduced its written billing policy. David
admitted signing the billing policy as the "Responsible
Party." Paragraph six of the billing policy provided:
LIABILITY OF RESPONSIBLE PARTY FOR RESIDENTS
CHARGES. A RESPONSIBLE PARTY DOES NOT ASSUME
PERSONAL FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR THE
RESIDENT'S CHARGES, HOWEVER, THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY MUST
UTILIZE THE RESIDENT'S ASSETS OVER WHICH THEY HAVE HAS
[sic] CONTROL TO PAY FOR SERVICES RENDERED.
8} Franklin also introduced a copy of the admission
agreement. David did not sign the admission agreement but the
magistrate found that a Franklin representative reviewed the
terms of the agreement with him, that Franklin upheld its
obligations under the agreement to provide Faun with food,
shelter, and skilled nursing, and that both parties agreed to
the terms. Like the billing policy, the admission agreement
provided that David "does agree, to the extent that they
have control over the RESIDENT's assets/funds, to see
that RESIDENT's charges are paid." The admission
agreement also contained a provision requiring Faun and David
to "make appropriate application" for Medicaid.
Both Faun and David were required to:
act as quickly as possible to establish and maintain
eligibility for Medicaid. These actions must include, but are
not limited to, taking any and all steps necessary to ensure
that the RESIDENT's assets are within the required limits
and that these assets remain within the allowable limits for
9} The record reflects that David repeatedly and
unsuccessfully applied for Medicaid on Faun's behalf.
However, Faun's available financial resources rendered
her ineligible. Franklin could not legally discharge Faun
during David's attempts to apply for Medicaid coverage
10} David admitted that he signed another document
that explained that Franklin billed 30 days in advance, that
invoiced amounts were due upon receipt, and that payment must
be made by the 10th of the month. In this respect, Franklin
introduced into evidence monthly billing statements that it
sent to David for Faun's charges. The first statement
date is September 2010 and the final statement is May 2014.
David agreed that he received these billing statements.
11} Franklin also introduced into evidence
Faun's checking account statements from December 2011
through December 2013. These statements reflect account
balances ranging from approximately $18, 000 to $3, 600. The