Elder LawEditors:Martha C. Brown, EsquireAlicia Albus, Esquire
Where an individual signs a contract as the "Responsible
Party," that individual is a party to the contract, regardless if he
was signing on behalf of another. Martha's Hands, LLC v. Rothman, No. 94341 (MO. App. E.D., December 28, 2010), Odenwald, J.
Steven Rothman signed an agreement with Martha's Hands, LLC for
provision of home health care services for his father. Steven Rothman
signed the agreement and signed as "Responsible Party." Steven Rothman
was also named as the "Person Responsible for Bill" on the client
payment information portion of the agreement and also signed that form
as "Responsible Party."
After his father's death, there was an outstanding balance due
Martha's Hands for its services. Martha's Hands filed suit against
Steven Rothman alleging breach of contract. (Other issues were argued
at the trial court, but the breach of contract issue is the only issue
that will be summarized here.)
The trial court ruled in favor of Steven Rothman. Martha's Hands appeals.
The appeals court found there was breach of contract as all four
elements of the breach of contract claim were present. 1) A contract
did exist - the contract was entered into evidence and did contain Mr.
Rothman's signature above the line for "Signature of Responsible
Party." Mr. Rothman acknowledged at trial that he did sign in all of
those places on the Agreement, and that he was the one that contracted
with Martha's Hands, even though he alleges that he did so on behalf of
his father; 2) plaintiff performed - Martha's Hands did perform
pursuant to the contract; 3) breach of contract by defendant - it is
undisputed that there was an outstanding balance for more than two years
after the bill was sent to Steven Rothman; and 4) damages - it is
undisputed that interest was to be charged on any outstanding balance.
Held: Judgment Reversed.
The Missouri Bar Courts Bulletin, 11-Feb