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Gradinaru v. State

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

March 24, 2014

ESTERA GRADINARU, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF WASHINGTON, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES, Respondent.

Order File Date. May 14, 2014

ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO PUBLISH OPINION

Respondent Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and non-party Stuart C. Morgan each filed a motion to publish the court's opinion entered March 24, 2014. The court requested and appellant filed an answer to the motions pursuant to RAP 12.3(e). After due consideration, the panel has determined that the motions should be granted.

Now therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED that the motions to publish the opinion are granted.

Verellen, J.

When a caretaker uses a vulnerable adult's property to further the caretaker's own goal, even if self-destructive, such use constitutes financial exploitation as defined by former RCW 74.34.020(6) (2010). The Department of Social and Health Services (Department) did not err in concluding that Estera Gradinaru financially exploited a vulnerable adult when she used that adult's morphine in a failed suicide attempt. We affirm.

FACTS

In October 2010, Gradinaru was the co-owner of an adult family home in Bellevue. Elaine, one of the residents of the home, was in hospice care and had been prescribed "comfort medications, " including liquid morphine, for end of life treatment.[1]

On October 12, Gradinaru was emotionally distressed and in physical pain. She took Elaine's morphine with her to a park and ride and ingested one-half capful of the morphine, which made her feel sleepy. Her father arrived at the park and ride and Gradinaru was taken to Overlake Hospital. She was admitted to the psychiatric unit after she told the treating staff that she ingested the morphine in a failed suicide attempt.

The Department investigated and made a preliminary finding that Gradinaru financially exploited a vulnerable adult. On appeal, an administrative law judge issued an initial order reversing the Department's finding. The Department petitioned the Board of Appeals (Board) to review the initial order. In its review decision and final order, the Board concluded that Gradinaru financially exploited a vulnerable adult. Gradinaru appealed to King County Superior Court, which affirmed the Board's review decision and final order.

Gradinaru appeals.

DISCUSSION

Gradinaru argues that her failed suicide attempt was not "financial exploitation" of a vulnerable adult as that term is defined in former RCW ...


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