Sexual Assault of Aging Victim Draws Attention to Elder Abuse

After reporting on the sexual assault of an 80-year-old woman in an unnamed Memphis nursing facility, WREG is providing information on signs and reporting of elder abuse. According to Sandy Bromley with the Shelby County Crime Victims Center and Rape Crisis Center, sexual assaults involving seniors are rare, however, family members should always be aware of suspicious injuries, bruises or unexplained maladies like urinary tract infections. The victim in this most recent case was taken to Methodist Hospital by family members after they noticed changes in her behavior, where the hospital performed a rape assessment and determined that she had been sexually assaulted. No charges have yet been filed regarding the incident.

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AG Slatery Defends Participation in ACA Lawsuit

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery is defending his participation in the lawsuit that led to a federal judge to rule the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as unconstitutional, saying “the Commerce Clause of our Constitution that, according to the court, prevents Congress from compelling Tennesseans to buy insurance, especially if they can't afford it or don't want it,” The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor last December ruled in favor of the 19 Republican state attorneys general, who argued that the law was unconstitutional after the 2017 Tax Act eliminated penalties for adults without health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court had previously upheld the mandate, saying it was constitutional because it fell under Congress's taxing power. State Democrats have blasted the ruling, warning of consequences for the 1.7 million Tennesseans with pre-existing health conditions and the quarter of a million people in the state who obtain their insurance coverage through the ACA.

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AARP Foundation Files Federal Class Action Suit Against Reverse Mortgage Provider

The AARP Foundation — through its litigating arm, AARP Foundation Litigation — has filed a class action lawsuit in federal court alleging that reverse mortgage provider Live Well Financial Inc. improperly paid the property taxes of customers with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages before the taxes were due, then demanded repayment out of homeowners’ personal funds under the threat of foreclosure. The complaint maintains that the company failed to provide the required notice to the mortgage holder regarding prepayment of taxes and in fact had no contractual or other legal authority to do so. Also named in the suit are Celink and Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC.

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102-Year-Old Becomes World's Oldest Skydiver

A 102-year-old woman became the world's oldest skydiver this month, plummeting from 14,000 feet above Australia, according to Vice News. Irene O'Shea made the jump to raise money and draw attention to Motor Neurone Disease, an illness that claimed the life of her daughter. This isn’t the first time O’Shea thumbed her nose in the face of danger, previously skydiving on her 100th birthday. You can view the video of O’Shea’s most recent adventure using this link.

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Council on Aging Adds 2 Tennessee Benefits Enrollment Centers

The National Council on Aging has added 25 organizations to its Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs), including two new locations in Tennessee, according to a press release on its website. The Blount County Community Action Agency in Maryville and the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee have joined the network of enrollment centers, which aid low-income Medicare beneficiaries in seeking access to programs that assist with payments for health care, prescriptions, food and utilities, among other services. The organizations will receive grants to create or expand these programs. 

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Woman Draws Attention to Guardianship Practices

A New York woman deemed incompetent after Adult Protective Services (APS) forcefully entered her apartment is bringing attention to national guardianship practices, The New York Times reports. Phyllis Funke — who is a former freelance journalist for The Times — holds a master’s degree from Columbia University, a pilot license and what she estimates as several hundred thousand dollars in investments, however, an APS caseworker and city psychiatrist determined that she was incapable of making her own decisions after she did not respond to court motions to evict her for hoarding, and determining she was malnourished and dehydrated. The city psychiatrist testified that she suffered from “unspecified bipolar and related disorder, hoarding disorder and unspecified personality disorder,” therefore was unable to manage her personal needs and property, or to understand the consequences of her hoarding. Her own psychiatrist, however, maintains that she is stable and “perfectly competent to handle all her affairs.”  Since being placed under guardianship, Funke has been billed $16,800 by her court-appointed lawyer; $3,437 by a court evaluator and $5,000 by her first temporary guardian. “I feel as if I have absolutely no rights at all in the country in which I was born, and therefore in the rest of the world,” said Funke. “It’s worse than incarceration. At least in prison, you have rights.”

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Elder Law Basics Programming Now Available Online

Several videos from this year’s Elder Law Basics program are now available to purchase on the Tennessee Bar Association website. Topics for these videos include:
These online programs offer an opportunity for you to brush up on essential issues related to the practice while allowing the flexibility to work around your busy schedule in the last-minute rush for CLE credit. You can view other upcoming programs and online video options on our CLE webpage.
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American Airlines: Video Footage Proves Elderly Woman Was Not Abandoned

American Airlines is fighting back on allegations that they left an elderly patient with Parkinson's Disease unattended overnight in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, USA Today reports. Olimpia Warsaw said that she was traveling with the airline last Friday to attend the funeral of her son's father and was left at the airport after her flight to Detroit was canceled. The airline says that it has video footage that contradicts Warsaw’s statement, showing that a family member picked her up from the terminal less than 45 minutes after she exited the plane. American says it is "deeply concerned about what occurred” and that its customer relations department has spoken with Warsaw's family "multiple times" and refunded her ticket.

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Tennessee Veterans' Homes Receive Poor Ratings from State Comptroller

Three of the four state-operated veterans’ homes in Tennessee received subpar scores for quality of care in a recent three-year audit by the state comptroller, The Tennessean reports. The homes — located in Humboldt, Knoxville, Clarksville and Murfreesboro — were cited for violations regarding unreported deaths, failure to communicate at least three instances of possible unlawful conduct regarding administrative matters and not conducting proper background checks on employees. The home in Clarksville was an outlier, consistently receiving five-star ratings in the study.

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Services Offer Free, Discounted Rides on Election Day

Many ride-share services and city transit authorities are offering free or discounted rides to the polls tomorrow to ensure voting access for those with transportation needs. Here is a list of some of these options:
  • Lyft is offering free rides in Memphis and Nashville, with a 50 percent discount offered to everyone else. 
  • Uber is offering $10 off a single ride using their cheapest service option. To take advantage of this promotion, you will need to have the most recent, up-to-date version of the Uber app. A special promo code will be made available to users in their app on Election Day.
  • Knoxville and Memphis transit authorities will offer fare-free rides to polls on Election Day.
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