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Katherine C. Pearson Personal

Katherine C. Pearson


Elder Law Resource Center

Elder Law Bibliography

Professor Pearson was awarded a 2012 research grant by the Borchard Foundation’s Center on Law and Aging for her project titled “Crossing Borders and Barriers: How Older Adults Access Legal Advice and Information for Effective Justice.” She conducted focus group interviews to determine access of older adults to trustworthy legal advice and information during the summer of 2012.

View video explaining research

"An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure." As the state with the third highest percentage of older adults, Pennsylvania is often the arena for financial abuse or exploitation. This timely new book presents the legal consequences of financial exploitation, both in criminal and civil terms. By focusing on the law of exploitation, this essential guide will give those who assist older adults and dependent persons, including attorneys, courts, financial advisors, banks, social workers and families, clear guidelines for prevention of financial exploitation. The step-by-step analysis of alternative remedies will be useful to legal advisors, whether in or outside of the Commonwealth, especially when pursuing a timely, full recovery. Read more.

By: Professor Katherine C. Pearson and Trisha E. Cowart, Esq. (Bisel 2011)


Background: What are “Continuing Care Retirement Communities” also known as "CCRCs"?

One form of retirement living offers a centralized location for a range of care options, from supported “independent” living to full-scale skilled nursing care. Such facilities are often called “Continuing Care Retirement Communities” or “CCRCs,” or similar names such as “Life Care Communities” or “LCCs.” The amenities and services provided by the facilities are usually the subject of a contract, with different types of contracts tied to different pricing structures. For example, the CCRC may promise specific, full services for a large up-front admission fee (sometimes ranging from $100,000 to $500,000) plus smaller monthly service fees. Other CCRCs may have a “fee for service” structure, with lower entrance costs but higher monthly fees. Because of the fees associated with these attractive models for long-term care, many states have adopted regulations that mandate certain disclosures or protections for residents. Professor Pearson’s research in this area focuses on regulatory models and how to protect the interests of current and future residents.

Recent Articles and Materials on Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

Background: What are “filial support” laws?

The word “filial” means “of, relating to or benefitting a son or daughter,” as in “filial respect” or “filial duty.” Since colonial times in America, states have struggled with how to provide for older adults who are unable to finance their elder years. One approach of lawmakers was to mandate that adult children (or other family members) provide care or maintenance to their parents. In the 21st Century, more than 20 states still have civil laws that mandate some form of financial obligation between parents and adult children. To distinguish them from “child support” or “spousal support” laws, academics have given such laws the label of “filial support” laws, although legislators may attempt to characterize them as “family responsibility” laws or use other titles suggesting routine familial obligations. Professor Pearson’s research has used Pennsylvania’s experience with filial support laws as a type of “ground zero” laboratory for analysis, and she compares filial support enforcement practices throughout the United States and other countries.

Articles and Materials on Filial Responsibility and Support Laws


Articles and Materials on Legal Issues Arising in Caregiver Relationships

Articles and Materials on Law and Aging Policy Issues

What is an “Elder Protection” Clinic?

Beginning in July 2001, Professor Pearson created and directed a dynamic clinic where law students at Penn State Dickinson provided legal services to older adults in central Pennsylvania. The clinic operated until July 2012 with students working as “certified legal interns” in interdisciplinary settings with social service providers and visiting practitioners who had key expertise in protection and advocacy, consumer law, Medicaid and bankruptcy. The clinic was very successful and popular, operating with the support of the University and grants from Pennsylvania’s IOLTA program and counties under the Older American’s Act. In addition to gaining first chair experience in representation of seniors, the law students frequently wrote articles and created consumer protection materials which are captured on this website. As of July 2012, we no longer accept client representation matters; however, the experiences of Penn State’s Elder Protection Clinic are frequently reflected in Professor Pearson’s publications — and the cutting edge issues she encountered in the Clinic continue to inspire her research.

Elder Protection Clinic Materials

Project to Define Third-Party Liability for Long-Term Care Costs

Conflict of Laws Articles

  • “Departing from the Routine: Application of Indian Tribal Law Under the Federal Tort Claims Act,” 32 Ariz. St. L. J . 695 (Summer 2000).
  • “Common Law Preclusion, Full Faith and Credit and Consent Judgments: The Analytical Challenge,” 48 Catholic L. Rev. 419 (Winter 1999).

Other Articles

Frequently Used Source Documents


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