Ohio Supreme Court Hears Complicated Case That Could Have Implications For “Snowbirds”

Nov 12, 2013

As the weather gets colder, there are more than a few Ohioans who are right now planning their annual extended stays in Florida or other warm climates. But there's a complicated case in the Ohio Supreme Court which hopes to answer the question where a person who has two homes actually lives.

The case revolves around a wrongful death claim from a deadly bike-car accident in 2008 in Geauga County. The adult driver claimed he was covered by his elderly father’s umbrella insurance policy as a resident relative. But there’s a dispute about whether the father’s domicile is in Florida with this wife or if it’s his son’s home in Ohio, where he spends a lot of time managing a business.

“To change domicile, they have to follow the rule, which is abandoning the first one with no intent to return to it," says Steven Keefe who represents the bicyclist’s widow.

But Shawn Maestle, representing the insurance company, said that law is unconstitutional.

“It would mandate that every citizen in the United States be deemed a domicile of Ohio unless they file an affidavit with Ohio Secretary of State or Department of Taxation.”

And Maestle said the decision in this case could affect every domicile question the state of Ohio has.