Redfield v. Bitterman, No. 20000107

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
Writing for the CourtVANDE WALLE, Chief Justice.
Citation620 N.W.2d 570,2000 ND 217
PartiesRoger REDFIELD, Special Administrator of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt, Plaintiff, v. Gail BITTERMAN, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt, Defendants and Appellees, North Dakota Department of Human Services, Appellant. In the Matter of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt. North Dakota Department of Human Services, Claimant and Appellant, and Roger Redfield, Special Administrator of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt, Appellant, v. Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt, Respondents and Appellees. Roger Reified, Special Administrator of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt, Defendants and Appellants, North Dakota Department of Human Services, Appellee.
Docket Number No. 20000162, No. 20000181., No. 20000107
Decision Date21 December 2000

620 N.W.2d 570
2000 ND 217

Roger REDFIELD, Special Administrator of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt, Plaintiff,
v.
Gail BITTERMAN, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt, Defendants and Appellees,
North Dakota Department of Human Services, Appellant.
In the Matter of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt.
North Dakota Department of Human Services, Claimant and Appellant, and
Roger Redfield, Special Administrator of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt, Appellant,
v.
Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt, Respondents and Appellees.
Roger Reified, Special Administrator of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt, Defendants and Appellants,
North Dakota Department of Human Services, Appellee

Nos. 20000107, 20000162, 20000181.

Supreme Court of North Dakota.

December 21, 2000.


620 N.W.2d 571
Ann C. Mahoney, Mahoney & Mahoney, Center, ND, for plaintiff, appellant, and appellee Roger Redfield. Submitted on briefs

John A. Richardson, Richardson, Lange & Donovan, Hazen, ND, for defendants, appellees, respondents, and appellants Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt.

Blaine L. Nordwall, Special Assistant Attorney General, Bismarck, ND, for appellant, claimant, and appellee North Dakota Department of Human Services.

VANDE WALLE, Chief Justice.

[¶ 1] The North Dakota Department of Human Services ("Department") appealed district court orders disallowing its claim for recovery of medical assistance benefits and dismissing the complaint of Roger Redfield, Special Administrator of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt ("Redfield") against Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt. Redfield appealed the order dismissing his complaint. Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal G. Reinhardt appealed an order granting additional time within which to appeal the order dismissing Redfield's complaint. We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting additional time within which to appeal. We affirm the orders from which the appeals were taken, and we remand for further proceedings.

[¶ 2] Edwin and Esther Reinhardt married in 1949. Edwin entered a nursing facility in 1992. In 1992, and again in 1993, Esther purchased a $25,000 certificate of deposit in her name, but payable on death to her three children, Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal Reinhardt. Edwin qualified for medical assistance benefits on May 1, 1995, and received benefits until July 31, 1997, in the amount of $101,047.99. Esther died on July 12, 1997, and Edwin became ineligible for medical assistance benefits, because of the assets in Esther's estate. Esther's children cashed the certificates of deposit, worth $59,680.39 at her death, before Edwin died on November 19, 1997.

[¶ 3] On August 8, 1997, Neal Reinhardt applied for appointment as the personal representative in the matter of Estate of Esther Reinhardt, and was granted letters testamentary. On August 21, 1997, the first notice to creditors was published.1 On October 31, 1997, Neal Reinhardt

620 N.W.2d 572
served the Department with a copy of his application for appointment of personal representative.2 On July 1, 1998, the Department filed a claim for medical assistance benefits issued to Edwin Reinhardt in the amount of $101,047.99 against the estate of Esther Reinhardt. On July 17, 1998, Neal Reinhardt notified the Department its claim had been disallowed, stating "such claim was not filed in a timely fashion, and in addition, the claimant is not a creditor of the decedent, and it does not have a legal claim against the decedent's estate." The Department petitioned the district court for allowance of its claim on July 21, 1998

[¶ 4] Roger Redfield, Director of the Mercer County Social Service Board, petitioned the district court for appointment as special administrator of the estates of Esther Reinhardt and Edwin Reinhardt. Redfield was appointed Special Administrator of the estates. By summons and complaint of July 7, 1998, Redfield sued Gail Bitterman, Colleen Schneider, and Neal Reinhardt (Redfield v. Bitterman) to collect the certificates of deposit, alleging, among other things, "Edwin Reinhardt, deceased, is entitled to certain property and assets of the Estate of Esther Reinhardt by virtue of being the surviving spouse of Esther Reinhardt." Redfield sought a judgment "[f]or transfer and payment to the Estate of Esther Reinhardt of all assets with a right of survivorship or P.O.D. to which decedent Esther Reinhardt was beneficially entitled under Section 30.1-31-08."

[¶ 5] On January 24, 2000, the district court issued an order denying Redfield's motion for summary judgment. In applying N.D.C.C. § 30.1-31-08(2) and 30.1-31-09, the court concluded: (1) The Department "offered no evidence to contradict Neal's affidavits which clearly show Edwin had no beneficial interest in the certificates of deposit"; and (2) "Edwin was never a 'party' to the two `accounts.' ... Edwin was not named on the certificates of deposit. By the terms of the `accounts,' Edwin had no interest in them, beneficial or otherwise." In applying 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(b) (1994) and N.D.C.C. § 50-24.1-07, the court concluded:

[I]n order for [the Department] to assert a claim against the estate of a spouse of a medical-assistance-benefits-recipient, the spouse must survive the recipient. She must be a "survivor, heir, or assign of the deceased individual through joint tenancy, tenancy in common, survivorship, life estate, living trust, or other arrangement." 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(b)(4)(B) (1994).

On February 1, 2000, the district court issued an order dismissing Redfield's case on the merits. Notice of entry of the order of dismissal was served on Redfield on February 3, 2000. By letter of February 4, 2000, counsel for Redfield mailed to the Department a copy of the court's February 1, 2000, order of dismissal in Redfield v. Bitterman and a copy of the court's order disallowing the Department's claim against the Estate of Esther Reinhardt on February 1, 2000. The Department mailed a notice of appeal on April 6, 2000, which was filed by the district court clerk on April 7, 2000. The district court issued an order granting the Department's motion for an extension of the time within which to appeal. The defendants in Redfield v. Bitterman appealed the district court's order granting the extension.

[¶ 6] On February 1, 2000, the district court issued an order disallowing the Department's claim in Estate of Esther Reinhardt, "for the reasons set forth" in the

620 N.W.2d 573
court's January 24, 2000, order in Redfield v. Bitterman. The...

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5 practice notes
  • State v. Fischer, No. 20060153.
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • February 28, 2007
    ...369. A district court abuses its discretion when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner. Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 7, 620 N.W.2d 570. Appellate courts often give more leeway to a district court's decision to grant an extension of time than they give to a......
  • IN RE ESTATE OF FISK, No. 20090157.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • April 6, 2010
    ...however, N.D.C.C. § 50-24.1-07 does not authorize recovery from the estate of a recipient's surviving spouse." Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 12, 620 N.W.2d 570. In Estate of Wirtz, 2000 ND 59, ¶ 14, 607 N.W.2d 882, we We hold any assets conveyed by the institutionalized spouse to th......
  • Hilgers v. Hilgers, No. 20030252
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • May 5, 2004
    ...or order commences the running of the time for appeal when actual knowledge is clearly evidenced in the record. Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 7, 620 N.W.2d 570; Domres v. Domres, 1998 ND 217, ¶ 9, 587 N.W.2d 146. In his petition for modification of the support orders filed June 12, ......
  • Hilgers v. Hilgers, No. 20010208.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • November 5, 2002
    ...to discern that the court considered and decided a critical issue, a remand is necessary to resolve the issue. Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 13, 620 N.W.2d 570. Accordingly, we reverse and remand with directions to make findings and to create a visitation schedule according to the e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • State v. Fischer, No. 20060153.
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • February 28, 2007
    ...369. A district court abuses its discretion when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner. Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 7, 620 N.W.2d 570. Appellate courts often give more leeway to a district court's decision to grant an extension of time than they give to a......
  • IN RE ESTATE OF FISK, No. 20090157.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • April 6, 2010
    ...however, N.D.C.C. § 50-24.1-07 does not authorize recovery from the estate of a recipient's surviving spouse." Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 12, 620 N.W.2d 570. In Estate of Wirtz, 2000 ND 59, ¶ 14, 607 N.W.2d 882, we We hold any assets conveyed by the institutionalized spouse to th......
  • Hilgers v. Hilgers, No. 20030252
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • May 5, 2004
    ...or order commences the running of the time for appeal when actual knowledge is clearly evidenced in the record. Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 7, 620 N.W.2d 570; Domres v. Domres, 1998 ND 217, ¶ 9, 587 N.W.2d 146. In his petition for modification of the support orders filed June 12, ......
  • Hilgers v. Hilgers, No. 20010208.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • November 5, 2002
    ...to discern that the court considered and decided a critical issue, a remand is necessary to resolve the issue. Redfield v. Bitterman, 2000 ND 217, ¶ 13, 620 N.W.2d 570. Accordingly, we reverse and remand with directions to make findings and to create a visitation schedule according to the e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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