An Unconstitutional Statute that Refuses to Die

In Kentucky, husbands are legally responsible for their wives’ medical debts, but not the other way around. Please help me change that.

            KRS 404.040 provides:

The husband shall not be liable for any debt or responsibility of the wife contracted or incurred before or after marriage, except to the amount or value of the property he received from or by her by virtue of the marriage; but he shall be liable for necessaries furnished to her after marriage.     

            Because the “wife” is not likewise liable for the necessary expenses of the husband, the statute violates equal protection on its face. For over two decades at least, the statute has evaded a judicial decision on its constitutionality for any number of technical reasons. Last year, I lost a challenge because the courts concluded that a hospital’s promise not to collect a debt from my client rendered the constitutional challenge moot. Lessons were learned. The path forward may be a class action. But I won’t know until I try. This is where you come in.

            If a debt collector or doctor or hospital is trying to collect a medical debt from you that was incurred by your wife, please call or email me. I’ll represent you at no cost with the hopes of finally getting a ruling on the statute’s constitutionality.