State Supreme Court Affirms Overruling of Objections to Motion to Compel Arbitration in Nursing Home Lawsuit

An appeal was taken from an order entered on June 18, 2015 that denied the motion of the defendants, Manor Care of Carlisle PA, LLC, etc., for reconsideration after the circuit court judge denied their motion to compel arbitration in this nursing home abuse case. It is well-settled that “denial of reconsideration is not subject to appellate review.”

On Dec. 13, 2012, Mary J. Churlick, in her capacity as executrix of the estate of Mary J. Yohn (hereinafter the “decedent”) filed a lawsuit against the defendant nursing home and its parent company. The complaint contained claims in negligence and negligence per se as well as claims under the survival statute and wrongful death statute.

On Sept. 6, 2013, the trial judge overruled the defendants’ preliminary objection and the nature of the motion to compel arbitration. That order was an appealable order.

On Sept. 24, 2013, the defendants filed a motion for reconsideration of that order. On Oct. 4, 2013, the trial judge vacated the Sept. 5, 2013 order pending a ruling for the motion for reconsideration, which it took under advisement. On Oct. 7, 2013, the defendants filed a notice of appeal. By order entered on Nov. 1, 2013, the Supreme Court dismissed that appeal concluding that the Oct. 4, 2013 order was an order “expressly granting consideration” consistent with case law holding that where the trial court simultaneously vacates its order and takes a motion for consideration under advisement, it was “expressly granting reconsideration.”

Not until June 18, 2015, when the trial judge entered an order denying the motion for reconsideration that it had taken under advisement previously and that denial of reconsideration was essentially when the reinstatement of the Sept. 6, 2013 order overruling the defendants’ preliminary objection was entered.

The defendants were seeking to enforce the arbitration agreement that was signed upon the decedent’s admission to the nursing home facility, Manor Care Carlisle. The arbitration agreement was not signed by the decedent herself, but by the decedent’s daughter who acted under a power of attorney.

Both parties and the trial judge agreed that this case was governed by the state Supreme Court’s ruling in a previous case. It was held that “the wrongful death beneficiaries’ constitutional right to a jury trial and estate’s interest in litigating wrongful death and survival claims together required that they all proceed in court rather than arbitration.” Accordingly, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial judge overruling the defendants’ nursing home’s preliminary objection in the nature of the motion to compel arbitration, which kept both the wrongful death and survival actions in court to be litigated. The order denying arbitration was affirmed.

Churlick v. Manor Care of Carlisle PA, LLC, d/b/a Manorcare Health Service, Carlisle, et al., 1108MDA 2015 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2016).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home negligence cases, nursing home abuse cases and wrongful death cases 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 Orland Park, Palos Heights, Chicago Ridge, Forest Park, Crestwood, Alsip, Merionette Park, Blue Island, Calumet Park, Riverdale, Harvey, Chicago (Lake Calumet, South Chicago, Avalon Park, South Deering, Mount Greenwood, Gresham, Englewood, Stockyards, Washington Park, Bridgeport, Chinatown, Ukrainian Village, Humboldt Park, Polish Village, Andersonville, Rosehill, West Ridge, Edgewater, Edison Park), Harwood Heights, Schiller Park and Brookfield, Ill.

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