Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
DONNA M. TAYLOR, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ANDREW D. HEARY, Defendant-Appellant.
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Domestic Relations Division Case No. DR-96-248233
Wuliger & Wuliger, Megan Spagnolo Lai, and William T.
Wuliger, for appellee.
D. Heary, pro se.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
T. GALLAGHER, PRESIDING JUDGE
1} Defendant-appellant, Andrew D. Heary, pro se,
appeals an order of the domestic relations court reducing,
but not eliminating, his spousal support obligation and
finding him in contempt for failing to pay premiums for his
ex-wife's long-term care insurance. He claims the
following 11 assignments of error:
1. The magistrate incorrectly found that the defendant was to
have paid plaintiffs long-term care insurance premiums from
his 35% share of his social security disability.
2. The magistrate incorrectly found that Mr. Heary was
expected to pay long-term care coverage at the time of [the
former magistrate's decision in February 2004].
3. The magistrate falsely states, "Mr. Heary presented
no evidence as a defense to failing to pay the claim after
January 2003" (in paragraph 3 on page 6, of her June 18,
4. The magistrate finding that plaintiff should receive a
judgment for $216, 450 is an abuse of discretion and not
supported by [the former magistrate's February 12, 2004
5. In sentence two of paragraph 3 on page 6 of her decision,
the magistrate incorrectly states what happened on August 2,
2005, when [the former magistrate] filed his findings of fact
and conclusions of law [in February 2004].
6. The magistrate, on page 7, paragraph 3, has incorrectly
stated Ms. Taylor's age.
7. The magistrate refused to allow Mr. Heary to take Ms.
8. On page 8, the magistrate incorrectly states that Mr.
Heary pays $97 per month for health insurance.
9. The magistrate in her decision on page 7, last paragraph,
sentence 2 mis[s]tates Mr. Heary's income.
10.The magistrate wrongfully characterizes the extent of Mr.
Heary's medical conditions and what was filed on page 9,
11. The magistrate erred by allowing the plaintiff to
continue to garnish Mr. Heary's social security after
defendant filed his motion to modify in October 2016.
2} We find no merit to the appeal and affirm the
trial court's judgment.
Facts and Procedural History
3} Heary was divorced from his wife,
plaintiff-appellee Donna M. Taylor, pursuant to a judgment
entry of divorce journalized on July 23, 1999. Taylor was
diagnosed with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis in
October 1985, and, at the time of the parties' divorce,
Taylor was totally disabled. (Magistrate's decision dated
Sept. 19, 1998 at p. 13, incorporated into judgment entry of
divorce.) Due to the progressive nature of Taylor's
disease, the judgment entry of divorce ordered that
[Heary] shall pay for and maintain [Taylor] as a beneficiary
of the John Hancock Long Term Insurance Trust until
[Taylor's] death or remarriage, and provide annual proof
to [Taylor] of his compliance with this obligation.
(Judgment entry of divorce at p. 7.)
4} In February 2016, Taylor's condition had
worsened to the point that she could no longer independently
care for herself, and she was admitted into an assisted
living facility operated by Americare Assisted Living, Inc.
Taylor's daughter, Andrea Heary, who serves as
Taylor's power of attorney, contacted John Hancock
Financial Services to obtain benefits under the long-term
care policy referenced in the judgment entry of divorce. A
John Hancock representative informed her that the premiums
had not been paid since January 2003, and that the coverage
terminated when the account became overdue.
The J0hn Hancock insurance policy included a
"paid-up" benefit provision that allowed Taylor to
maintain coverage, but at a reduced level. The reduced
"paid-up" coverage provided a daily maximum benefit
of nursing home care of $54.00 and a lifetime maximum benefit
of $98, 550. The benefit amount was determined by the amount
of premiums paid as of February 1, 2003. (John Hancock letter
dated June 23, 2016, attached to motion to show cause.) If
the policy had not lapsed, full coverage would have provided
$170 per day for nursing home care or $85 per day for home
health care and a maximum lifetime limit of $315, 000.
(Pre-reduction benefits summary authenticated by affidavit of
the records custodian of John Hancock Financial Services
submitted with trial exhibits.) The difference between full
coverage and reduced coverage is $216, 450 in maximum
6} In October 2016, Taylor filed a motion to show
cause against Heary, alleging that he failed to pay premiums
for long-term care insurance as required by the judgment
entry of divorce. One month later, in November 2016, Heary
filed a motion to modify spousal support and a response to
Taylor's motion to show cause, alleging, among other
things, that his "multiple debilitating health
conditions" and his debt relieved him of his spousal
support obligation. In November 2016, Heary was still obliged
to pay monthly ...