Mass. Court Bridles at Allegations in Request for Reconsideration in Irrevocable Trust Case

In a strongly worded response to a Medicaid applicant's request for reconsideration of an unsuccessful appeal involving an irrevocable trust, a Massachusetts trial court strikes the applicant's pleadings after it takes great exception to the tone of the argument.  Daley v. Sudders (Mass.Super.Ct., No.15-CV-0188-D, March 28, 2016).

As previously reported on Elder Law Answers, James and Mary Daley created an irrevocable trust. They conveyed their interest in their condominium to the trust, but retained a life estate in the property. Seven years later, the state denied Mr. Daley Medicaid benefits after determining that the trust was an available asset.  The Massachusetts Superior Court upheld the state's decision.

Mr. Daley's estate filed a motion for reconsideration, claiming that the government's attorney knowingly made false statements of law, selectively quoted Medicaid regulations and failed to disclose adverse agency decisions to the court, among other complaints.  In order to succeed, the estate needed to prove "fraud, misrepresentation or other misconduct of an adverse party."

The Massachusetts Superior Court strikes the estate's request, stating that "[p]ost-decisional posturing and repugnant personal attacks will not be tolerated nor are they the proper subject of a motion for reconsideration. . . Neither professionalism nor our judicial system can countenance plaintiff attorney's conduct in this case, behavior that cries out for an appropriate judicial response.  Such conduct is unworthy of attorneys and disserves their clients."  The court writes that in striking the estate’s pleadings, it is granting the estate’s wish for “any such other and further relief as is just and equitable.”

To read the court's decision, click here.