Appellate Court Reverses, Upholding Nursing Home’s Arbitration Agreement Even with Lack of Clear Statement of Authority

A Kentucky appellate court has held that a nursing home arbitration agreement without specific language allowing an attorney-in-fact to waive a resident’s right to a jury trial was enforceable because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In reversing the trial court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration, the appeals panel turned to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Kindred Nursing Centers v. Clark, 137 S.Ct. 1421 (2017). In the Kindred Nursing Centers case, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts the state’s “clear statement rule,” which requires a power of attorney to contain an explicit authorization before an attorney-in-fact may waive a principal’s constitutional right to a jury trial. It was held that this case is substantively similar to the Kindred case.

In the underlying lawsuit, Jamie Free was admitted to Regis Woods Care and Rehabilitation Center, a long-term care facility. As she was being admitted, Jamie’s daughter, Reyetta Smith, signed an arbitration agreement in her individual and representative capacity. Smith later sued the facility and others claiming common law and statutory violations. The defendant moved to compel arbitration. The trial judge denied the motion on the basis that the power of attorney did not grant Smith express authority to sign the arbitration agreement on her mother’s behalf.

Because of the Kindred case and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in that case, the Kentucky Appellate Court reversed the trial judge and upheld the arbitration agreement.

Pine Tree Villa v. Smith, 2017 WL 2992536 (Ky. Ct. App.)

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois Nursing Home Care Act lawsuits, nursing home abuse cases and nursing home negligence lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Chicago Heights, Oak Lawn, Country Club Hills, Orland Park, Forest Park, Crestwood, Chicago (Little Italy, Little Village, Rogers Park, Grand Crossing, Lawndale), Melrose Park and Elmwood Park, Ill.

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