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E-Newsletter of March 13, 2012 | Vol. 4, No. 61


Article of the Week



Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante, 2011, Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

I don’t generally consider myself a fan of jigsaw puzzles, but I love a good mystery. This novel is about an orthopedic surgeon forced to retire because of her dementia. Early in the book the reader learns that the doctor’s best friend and neighbor, Amanda, is dead, murdered. The demented doctor is the prime suspect, but she can’t even remember that her friend of thirty years is dead.

The characters are all developed through the voice of the memory-impaired doctor. She doesn’t remember where she is or who the people around her are, but she has random snatches of memories, little puzzle pieces, that slowly reveal the truth about her family, her work, and her friend. Not until the very end of the book can you step back, see the complete mosaic and know who killed Amanda.

If you enjoyed Still Alice by Lisa Genova, published a short time before this book, you will also take pleasure in Turn of Mind, a fast read.

Submitted by Paulette Joyer, Esq.


Item of Interest



Planning has begun for the 2012 Elder Law Institute, which will take place on October 11-12, 2012, at the Minnesota CLE Center in Minneapolis. As my husband says, “I don’t know what you want unless you tell me.” So - WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What issues do you want to see covered?
Are you interested in presenting?
Have a suggestion for speakers?

If you have ideas or suggestions, please call or send an e-mail to Laura Zdychnec, 2012 Elder Law Institute Chair at 929-952-0622 or


The 2012 ELI Planning Committee will meet at 11:30 a.m. on May 2nd, May 23rd, and June20th at the Minnesota CLE offices in St. Paul. PLEASE NOTE CHANGES: Based on feedback from the Committee Chairs of the past few years and Minnesota CLE, the ELI Planning Committee will operate a little differently this year. The intention is not to limit participation, but to assure that the Planning Committee is a manageable size (ideally 10-12 people at most). Planning Committee participation will carry with it a responsibility to participate in all meetings, work to develop the theme, and to identify and enlist speakers for one or more sessions. If more people express an interest and willingness to serve than indicated, we may not be able to accommodate everyone. (But remember, you do not need to be on the Planning Committee to submit ideas, or to be a speaker.)

If you are interested in serving on the Planning Committee, please call or send an e-mail to Laura Zdychnec, 2012 Elder Law Institute Chair at 929-952-0622 or

Submitted by Laura Zdychnec



Link of the Week


Connections Caring

Caring Connections is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).  It is a national consumer and community engagement initiative dedicated to improving care at the end of life. 

The contents of its webpage entitled “Planning Ahead” may prove useful as National Healthcare Decisions Day approaches. To visit the website, click here. For example, a short article called “Healthcare Agents: Choosing One and Being One” could serve as a helpful pre-meeting reading for clients and their proposed agents. To read that article, click here.


Submitted by Laura Orr, Esq.

Elder Law News


How to Plan for Long-Term Health Care | Fox Business

Study: Minnesota's uninsured rate remains high | Echo Press

Austin nursing home thwarts 'grandparent scam' | MSNBC


Submitted by Joel Smith, Esq.

Elder Law Cases

Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Case Update: In re Estate of Donald K. Ruddick
On March 2, 2012, Judge Paulette Kane Flynn of Ramsey County District Court issued an Order and Memorandum granting summary judgment in favor of the Estate of Donald K. Ruddick in a Medical Assistance estate recovery case. The Court’s ruling was based on the holdings in In re Estate of Francis E. Barg and In re Estate of Richard L. Perrin. The Ruddick case is the first known district court decision involving a MA claim against the estate of a surviving spouse who died after the July 1, 2009 for MA provided solely to a predeceased spouse who died prior to July 2009. Following the Barg decision, the legislature amended Minn. Stat. §§ 256B.15 and 519.05 effective July 1, 2009 seeking to expand MA estate recovery.
The issue was whether the County and DHS are barred from relitigating a MA claim pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 519.05 (spousal liability statute). The 2009 amendments to Minn. Stat. § 256B.15 expanded the definition of martial property subject to estate recovery and only apply to MA recipients who die on or after July 1, 2009. This amendment was not at issue.
The parties stipulated to the facts. Prior to Janis Ruddick receiving MA benefits, the homestead was transferred to her husband Donald Ruddick, as the sole owner. Janis Ruddick died in March 2008 and the only asset in which she had an ownership interest was a jointly owned bank account with her husband. After payment of funeral and burial expenses, the balance in the joint account was $840.64.
Donald Ruddick died in January 2010 owning the homestead. Ramsey County first filed Written Statement of Claim in the Estate of Donald Ruddick pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 256B.15 in the amount of $165,504.63 for MA provided to Janis Ruddick, the predeceased spouse. The County filed an amended claim pursuant to Minn. Stat. §§ 256B.15 and 519.05. The MN Department of Human Services intervened as a party. The Estate filed a Notice of Partial Allowance of a Claim Previously Disallowed allowing the claim in the amount of $840.64. The Estate brought a motion for summary judgment that was originally heard on November 30, 2010. The parties agreed to continue the hearing until the Perrin case was decided by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. On April 19, 2011, the Court of Appeals held in Perrin that the district court had properly disallowed a MA claim based on the Barg decision and collateral estoppel applied.
Judge Flynn heard oral arguments again on February 13, 2012. The Court rejected the argument of the County and DHS that Minn. Stat. § 519.05 authorizes MA estate recovery under the theory of joint and several liability for medical services. The Estate claimed that County is collaterally estopped from relitigating the MA claim under Minn. Stat. § 519.05 because the issue of whether the county can recover MA benefits provided to a predeceased spouse in the estate of a surviving spouse had already been litigated and decided.
The County and DHS argued that the amendment to Minn. Stat. § 519.05(a) effective on July 1, 2009 provided the authority to recover MA from the Estate of Donald Ruddick. The only change to Minn. Stat. § 519.05(a) in 2009 was the addition of the following language: “…including any claims arising under section 246.53, 256B.15, 256D.16, or 261.04…” The Court indicated that the “only notable difference between Perrin and this case is that in Perrin both the pre-deceased spouse and the decedent died prior to July 1, 2009, the effective date of the amendment… Here, Janis Ruddick died prior to the amendment, but Decedent died after the amendment was enacted.”
Applying the Perrin holding, the Court ruled that the County’s claim under Minn. Stat. §519.05(a) to recover MA benefits is barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. DHS claimed that the issues litigated in the Ruddick Estate are not identical to those in Perrin because Perrin did not have to address the 2009 amendment to Minn. Stat. § 519.05(a). The Court rejected this argument holding that the 2009 amendment to the spousal liability statute is irrelevant since the marriage ended when Janis Ruddick died in 2008.
The Court additionally found that the County is not entitled to MA recovery under Minn. Stat.§ 519.05 even if collateral estoppel did not apply. Janis Ruddick died before the July 1, 2009 effective date of the amendment and Donald Ruddick was unmarried when the amendment became effective. The 2009 amendments cannot be applied retroactively unless clearly intended by the legislature.
The decision will be final when the period for the County and DHS to appeal ends in early May 2012.
The Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Donald Ruddick are represented by Peter M. Hendricks of Garvey, Boggio & Hendricks, P.A. in Bloomington; Ramsey County is represented by Assistant County Attorney Harry McPeak; DHS is represented by Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Jahnke.

Submitted by Peter M. Hendricks, Esq.

Elder Law Statutes, Regulations, and Bulletins

#12-21-04        ApplyMN: Online Application for Health Care, Cash Assistance, Nutrition Assistance, Child Care Assistance and Emergency Help. The purpose of this bulletin is to introduceApplyMN, a new online application, and provide instructions and policy for using this online application. The bulletin, dated March 1, 2012, is available here.

#12-01-01   Food Support Program Changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  The purpose of this bulletin is to inform counties and community partners about the change in program name from Food Support to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bulletin, dated March 5, 2012, is available here.

The following was published in the State Register on Monday, March 5, 2012. 

Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)
Health Care Eligibility and Access Division
Addendum to Request for Proposals from Qualified Consultants to Perform
Disability Determinations for the Medical Assistance Program
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Minnesota Department of Human Services through its Health Care Eligibility and Access Division (DHS) has published an Addendum to its Request for Proposal for Proposals From Qualified Consultants To Perform Disability Determinations For The Medical Assistance Program that was published in the January 17, 2012 edition of the State Register. In the
Addendum, DHS is removing the requirement that contractors have professional liability insurance.

To request a full text of the RFP Addendum please contact:

Deb Wagner
Department of Human Services
Health Care Eligibility and Access Division
P.O. Box 64248
444 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 551550248
(651) 431-2672
(651) 431-7420
This is the only person designated to answer questions by potential responders regarding this RFP.

The text of the RFP Addendum can also be viewed by visiting the Minnesota Department of Human Services RFP web site.
This request does not obligate the State to complete the work contemplated in this notice. The State reserves the right to cancel this solicitation. All expenses incurred in responding to this notice are solely the responsibility of the responder.

Submitted by Peter M. Hendricks, Esq.

Upcoming Events and CLE Programs

"Get to Know Elder Law "
Minnesota’s population is aging. And so is Minnesota’s Elder Law Bar. The average age of members of the MSBA Elder Law Section is 53. Only 14% of current members are under 40. If you’re interested in exploring a growing area of practice that is personally rewarding and professionally challenging, consider attending this networking reception and helpful seminar.
A panel of experienced practitioners will discuss the following topics:
•          Who’s your client: identifying and counseling your client when family members are involved;
•          Client interactions: working with individuals who may have diminished capacity;
•          Medical Assistance: spotting when knowledge of M.A. matters and finding related resources; and 
•          Elder law routes and remedies: identifying common elder law problems and the variety of routes to resolution.
Preceding and following the seminar, please join members of the MSBA Elder Law Section for networking, appetizers, and beverages. This program is geared toward law students and lawyers with six years or less in practice.
Stuart Bear, Chestnut Cambronne PA
Laurie Hanson, Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A.
David Rephan, Chestnut Cambronne PA
Jennifer Wright, Associate Professor, University of St. Thomas School of Law
1 hour of Standard CLE credit applied for
Event Code: 165178

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Light hors d'oeuvres and networking | 5:30 - 6:00 p.m. 
Seminar | 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Substantial hors d'oeuvres, questions and networking | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Radisson Hotel Roseville
2540 Cleveland Avenue North 
Roseville, MN 55113 
Teleconferencing is not available for this program.
New Lawyers Section Members: Free
Lawyers with 6 years or less in practice:  Free
Law Students:  Free
Elder Law Section Members with more than 6 years in practice:  Free
Other Registrants:  $25.00


Submitted by Suzy Scheller, Esq.
Elder Law Section Chair


Mark your calendars!  April 16 is NHDD
The Elder Law and Estate Planning Society and the Center for Elder Justice and Policy at William Mitchell will again host an all day public event on April 16 to facilicate end-of-life health care planning.  

From 9 am to 5 pm Monday, April 16, students and volunteer attorneys will provide free assistance to anyone who wants to complete an advance health care directive, which legally documents a person’s health care wishes so family and physicians will know exactly what medical procedures should or should not take place if the person is unable to communicate.

It takes less than an hour to complete the form, which may include preferences about special end-of-life treatments and pain management, directions about funeral arrangements and organ donation, and more.

The event is part of the fifth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, in which health care providers, attorneys, and others will participate in a national effort to highlight the importance of advance health care decision-making. National Healthcare Decisions Day at William Mitchell is sponsored by the Elder Law and Estate Planning Society and the Center for Elder Justice and Policy at William Mitchell College of Law.


Submitted by Andrea Palumbo, Esq.


What: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
When: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 from 8:00am – 5:00pm
Where: William Mitchell College of Law
Auditorium and Classrooms for Breakout Sessions
875 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
Cost: FREE!


Submitted by Suzy Scheller, Esq.
Elder Law Section Chair


The Hamline University School of Law Health Law Institute will be offering ELDER LAW in a compact format from June 16 to 21.  The course qualifies for 2 law school credits or 24 CLE credits.  To learn more, click here. 

The Health Law Institute is also offering four other courses in the same format in the same time-frame:

Health Reform: A New Age of Regulatory Enforcement (1cr)
Health Reform: Insurance Plans, Exchanges, and Mandates (1cr)
(Un)Healthy Choices: Tobacco, Obesity, and Beyond (2cr)
Health Care Compliance Summer Institute (3cr)


Submitted by Thaddeus Pope, J.D., Ph.D.
Director, Health Law Institute
Associate Professor of Law
Hamline University School of Law

Elder Law Section Activities


MA COMMITTEE MEETING: The next MA Committee meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, 2011. The Medical Assistance Committee is a study group to analyze Elder Law Section member questions and case studies and to discuss administrative policies and procedures in relation to Medical Assistance in Minnesota.  Cathryn D. Reher of Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A., is Committee Chair.  For directions, or to attend by phone, please contact Tracie Fenske with Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A., at 952-929-0622 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. Topics for the meeting may be submitted to under the subject heading “MA Committee Topic”, or faxed to 952-542-9201. Please be reminded that the meeting location is: Estate & Elder Law Services (formerly MAO Legal Services), Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418. The meeting takes place in the building’s conference room. There are a few parking spaces behind the building and lots of street parking. People should walk to the back of the building and come to the back door which faces directly into the meeting room.

GOVERNING COUNCIL:  The next meeting of the Elder Law Section Governing Council will be on Friday, April 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm at the offices of the Volunteers of America (VOA) at 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, Minneapolis, MN 55418.For further information, please contact Suzy Scheller, Chair, at:


Elder Law Website


DON'T FORGET THAT THE ELDER LAW WEBSITE IS A GREAT RESOURCE. Here’s what you can find on the Website:  Links to the DHS Health Care Programs Manual, the DHS Bulletin on treatment of uncompensated transfers, the Minnesota Bankers Association Compliance Bulletin on Powers of Attorney, legislative summary; Practice Links to organizations such as NAELA, ABA Commission on Law and Aging, Links to Federal and State Government Agencies, Statutes, and Regulations; Meeting Notices, Listings of Officers and Council Members, Section Bylaws, and more.


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