Judicial District of Stamford


     Nursing Homes; Spousal Liability; Whether a Spouse may be Held Liable for His or Her Deceased Spouse's Unpaid Nursing Home Expenses.  The plaintiff operates a  nursing home facility.  Carmen Coratolo was a resident of the plaintiff's facility from August 14, 2006, through October 10, 2007.  He died on October 25, 2007, owing the plaintiff $60,795.32 for services rendered.  The plaintiff brought this action against Carmen Coratolo's wife, Sally Coratolo, alleging that, under General Statutes § 46b-37 (b) (4), she was liable to the plaintiff for the care and services provided to her husband.  Section 46b-37 (b) (4) provides that "it shall be the joint duty of each spouse to support his or her family, and both shall be liable for . . . any article purchased by either which has in fact gone to the support of the family, or for the joint benefit of both."  The plaintiff claimed that the care and services that it provided to Carmen Coratolo went to the "support of" Sally Coratolo and her family because, if not for the plaintiff, Sally Coratolo would have had to make arrangements to provide such care for Carmen Coratolo in their home or elsewhere.  Sally Coratolo moved for summary judgment on the ground that § 46b-37 (b) (4) does not provide for spousal liability for nursing home expenses.  The trial court found that most of the "care and services" supplied by the plaintiff to Carmen Coratolo; that is, nursing care, assistance with daily living activities, room and board, and administration of medication; were in fact just that - care and services - and could not be considered "articles" within the meaning of § 46b-37 (b) (4).  Next, the court acknowledged that items such as food and medicine might be considered "articles."  The court, however, determined that Sally Coratolo could not be held liable for such items because they went only to the support of Carmen Coratolo and not to the support of the Coratolo family or Sally Coratolo herself.  Thereafter, the trial court granted Sally Coratolo's motion for summary judgment, stating that while Sally Coratolo and her family may have been spared the expense or difficulty of caring for Carmen Coratolo because of the services provided by the plaintiff, that is not a sufficient ground for holding her liable for those services under § 46b-37 (b) (4).  In this appeal, the Supreme Court will review the trial court's decision.