Court affirms summary judgment in case involving Livingston Parish man's power of attorney

By Gabriel Neves | Jan 30, 2019

BATON ROUGE -- A deceased Livingston Parish man's survivors who sued a woman elected as his power of attorney suffered a loss in the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals.

State Judge Page McClendon issued an eight-page ruling on Dec. 28 affirming the Livingston Parish 21st District Court decision in the lawsuit filed by Sharlyne Reno, wife of the deceased Luther King, against Wanda Genola, Wanda Crawford, Harvest Manor Nursing Home, and ABC Insurance Co.

Reno sued Genola, Crawford, Harvest Manor, and ABC Insurance Co. alleging that King was cremated under approval of Genola, who did not possess the authority to release the body.

The ruling stated, "On March 15, 2005, Mr. King executed a general power of attorney appointing Wanda Genola to act on his behalf, including making 'health care decisions, such as surgery, medical expenses, nursing home residency and medication,'" with King being admitted into Harvest Manor a day later.

Records showed that King had Genola as his next of kin or representative for legal purposes, and she was also listed as an emergency contact. King also authorized Genola to act on financial issues.

"Additionally, in the Admission Agreement, signed by Ms. Genola, she was identified as the 'Responsible Party' with her relationship being 'friend POA.' Mr. King also signed a Resident Trust Fund Withdrawal Release, giving his consent to Ms. Genola to withdraw any monies from his Resident Trust Fund Account," the ruling said.

King died on Dec. 26, 2007.

In addition to the power of attorney suit, on Dec. 23, 2008, King's daughter Mary sued the nursing home for damages, alleging she and King were married at the time of his admission, and she claimed the nursing home refused to accept the fact, since Harvest Manor considered Genova as the power of attorney.

Both suits were consolidated, and the lower court decided with summary judgment on Dec. 4, 2017.

In her ruling, McClendon stated that Reno "failed to produce factual support sufficient to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact or that the mover is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law," finding "no error by the trial court in granting the motion for summary judgment."

The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal Case No. is 2018 CA 0529.

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