Q: A homeowner’s insurance company insuring my downstairs neighbor’s unit has summoned my 90-year-old father to court on a 4K claim of subrogation for a leak to the neighbor’s unit. Insurance paid out and is now suing my dad for the 4K when he is in a Nursing Home on Medicaid 24-hours away with 7 years of dementia. I cannot find any lawyer in the area to represent him and cannot figure out what other steps to take on the case. There are no options to pay out or settle out of court. I have presented documents proving he would not be fit to stand in court that day. Any suggestions? The court date 5 hours drive from my home and 5-hour drive from dad’s Nursing home. (Monesson, PA)
A: Is he the building owner? How can he be on Medicaid if he owns a building? Having dementia, does not necessarily mean he is incompetent or relieved from testifying. Why doesn’t he have insurance? Regardless, if your father is incompetent to testify, or just due to physical and medical reasons cannot come to court, you may be able to have his presence excused. You may be required to get a court order if you want him to be totally relieved of testifying. If you are relieved of only the duty to have him come to court, a judge may allow the insurance company to take his deposition. If you can get a guardian order or judicial determination that he is incompetent to stand trial, they he would be relieved of all testimony-deposition or trial. I would need to know many more facts to properly advise.