“Thought for the Day” #617 – by Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M.

November 30, 2015

A Pennsylvania appeals court has held that a son is required to pay for his mother’s care under the state’s filial responsibility law even though the mother does not have outstanding medical bills and the son claims he had an abusive childhood. Eori v. Eori (Pa. Super. Ct., No. 1342 WDA 2014, Aug. 7, 2015).  Joseph Eori is attorney-in-fact for his mother, Dolly Eori, who requires 24-hour care.  Ms. Eori lives with Mr. Eori, and her medical and caregiving expenses exceed her income.  Mr. Eori filed a complaint on behalf of his mother seeking filial support from his brother, Joshua Ryan.  Mr. Ryan objected, arguing, among other things, that his mother was not indigent because she did not have outstanding medical bills and that he had an abusive childhood.  Pennsylvania’s filial responsibility law negates the support obligation if the parent abandoned the child for a 10-year period.  The trial court granted the petition for support, and Mr. Ryan appealed.  The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed, holding that Mr. Ryan is required to provide support to his mother.  The court agreed with the trial court’s decision that the filial responsibility law doesn’t require a showing of unpaid bills or liabilities to justify a claim.  In addition, the court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that while Mr. Ryan may not have had an ideal childhood, there was no evidence that his mother abandoned him.