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Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center v. Estate of Dora Palladino

April 20, 2012

ROYAL SUITES HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ESTATE OF DORA PALLADINO, THEODORE FUSCO AND RITA FUSCO, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Atlantic County, Docket No. DC-12057-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 16, 2012 -

Before Judges Fuentes, Graves and Koblitz.

Defendants Theodore and Rita Fusco*fn1 appeal the November 12, 2009 judgment against them in the amount of $10,782.90, including $1746.75 in attorney fees, representing an unpaid nursing home bill of their deceased aunt, Dora Palladino, in favor of plaintiff Royal Suites Healthcare & Rehabilitation (Royal Suites). Although appellants did not include point headings as required by Rule 2:6-2(a)(5), we glean from their brief that they contest both the accuracy of the bill and the finding that they are responsible for its payment. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

On March 10, 2008, Mr. Fusco signed an agreement to admit Palladino to Royal Suites, a residential nursing home facility. At the time of admission, Palladino was suffering from dementia and medical problems. Mr. Fusco signed the admission agreement on the line indicating "Signature of Responsible Party." After his signature, he wrote "P.O.A.," meaning "Power of Attorney."

The admission agreement set forth the terms of Palladino's stay at Royal Suites and the obligations of the parties involved. Under the section entitled "Authority of the Responsible Party," the agreement, states in part:

If a Responsible Party and not the Resident signs this agreement, and the Responsible Party is the Resident's Power of Attorney and/or Legal Guardian, legal proof of such should be furnished to the facility. Residents may appoint a person other than a Power of Attorney or Legal Guardian to act as their Responsible Party.

Under the section entitled "Primary Obligation of the Responsible Party," the agreement reads:

The obligation of the Responsible Party is a primary obligation and not one of guaranty of payment or other performance. However, if the Responsible Party manages the Resident's finances, he/she is responsible for making payments owed to the facility out of the Resident's funds on time . . . . If this provision or any other provision of this agreement is breached by the responsible party, the obligation becomes one of guarantee of payment.

Under the section entitled "Facility Services," the agreement stated: "The Facility agrees to render care to the Resident, which includes food, shelter and general nursing care, so long as the Resident and/or Responsible Party fulfills their obligations under this agreement."

The agreement also contained a section entitled "Additional Conditions for Private Pay Residents." The agreement set forth a "Per Diem Rate Charge" of $250.

Under the section entitled, "Interest on Overdue Charges," the agreement states:

Bills for the Per Diem rate shall be rendered monthly and shall be paid within ten (10) days of receipt. All bills for any account overdue more than thirty (30) days will bear interest at the rate of one percent (1%) per month, (i.e.) twelve percent (12%) per annum, compounded monthly. Should this matter be referred to an attorney for collection, the ...


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