Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Cue

Court of Appeals of Oregon

June 14, 2017

STATE OF OREGON, acting by and through the Oregon Health Authority, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Lynda S. CUE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted November 2, 2016

         Jackson County Circuit Court 13CV03100; David G. Hoppe, Judge.

          Sarah Vaile argued the cause for appellant. With her on the brief was Robert W. Good, Attorney, LLC.

          Cecil A. Reniche-Smith, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Duncan, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and Garrett, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Following the death of a veteran, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) sought reimbursement for the costs of the veteran's care at Oregon State Hospital from his estate, which consists entirely of veterans' disability benefits paid during the veteran's lifetime. Defendant, the personal representative of the estate, rejected OHA's claim, citing a federal statute that makes veterans' benefits "exempt from the claim of creditors." 38 USC § 5301(a)(1). OHA brought suit and the trial court entered summary judgment for OHA, concluding that 38 USC section 5301(a)(1) is not a bar to OHA's claim for reimbursement. Defendant appeals, arguing that federal law precludes a state institution from receiving reimbursement for the costs of a veteran's care unless the institution followed certain procedures, set out in 38 CFR section 13.17, that allow state institutions to obtain direct payment of veterans' benefits for the costs of a veteran's care and maintenance at the institution.

         Held:

         The trial court did not err. Where a beneficiary of veterans' benefits has died without leaving a spouse or any dependents, the purpose of the exemption in 38 USC section 5301(a)(1)-to provide for [286 Or.App. 219] the well-being of veterans and their families-no longer applies. Similar to 38 USC section 5301(a)(1), 38 CFR section 13.17 as a whole, as well as the specific recovery method for the costs of a veteran's care set out therein, contemplates the existence of a living beneficiary and has no application in cases where the beneficiary of the benefits is deceased.

         Affirmed.

         [286 Or.App. 220] GARRETT, J.

         Deane Preston Cloud, a disabled veteran, spent most of the last several years of his life as a patient at the Oregon State Hospital (OSH). Cloud died in 2011, testate, but without a spouse or dependents. Following Cloud's death, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) sought reimbursement for the costs of Cloud's care at OSH from his estate, which consists entirely of federal veterans' disability benefits paid to Cloud during his lifetime. Defendant, the personal representative of Cloud's estate, rejected OHAs claim, citing a federal statute that makes veterans' benefits "exempt from the claim of creditors." 38 USC § 5301(a)(1). This action followed. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the trial court concluded that 38 USC section 5301(a)(1) is not a bar to OHAs claim for reimbursement of the costs of care that Cloud received at OSH. The trial court therefore granted OHAs motion for summary judgment, denied defendant's motion, and entered a judgment requiring defendant to pay OHAs claim. Defendant appeals. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         We begin with the relevant legal framework. Federal law limits the availability of veterans' benefits for payment of certain claims. Specifically, 38 USC section 5301(a)(1) provides, in part:

"Payments of benefits due or to become due under any law administered by the Secretary shall not be assignable except to the extent specifically authorized by law, and such payments made to, or on account of, a beneficiary shall be exempt from taxation, shall be exempt from the claim of creditors, and shall not be liable to attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.