All Content

Posted by: Chandra Williams on Sep 21, 2015

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Deborah Truby Riordan, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Carey L. Acerra, Cameron C. Jehl, and Deena K. Arnold, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy Bockelman.

Attorneys 2:

Thomas O. Helton and Daniel J. White, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Summer H. McMillan, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, GGNSC Gallatin Brandywood, LLC d/b/a Golden Living Center?Brandywood;; GGNSC Administrative Services, LLC d/b/a Golden Ventures; GGNSC Clinical Services, LLC; GGNSC Holdings, LLC d/b/a Golden Horizons; Golden Gate National Senior Care, LLC d/b/a Golden Living; GGNSC Equity Holdings, LLC; and Golden Gate Ancillary, LLC d/b/a Golden Innovation

Judge(s): MCBRAYER

This appeal concerns the enforceability of an arbitration agreement signed by a patient’s health care agent in conjunction with the patient’s admission to a nursing home. Within a few months of having been declared to lack capacity, the patient was placed in a nursing home. The agent completed all admission forms and contracts, including an optional, stand-alone arbitration agreement, on the patient’s behalf. After the patient’s death, the agent sued the nursing home for negligence, violations of the Tennessee Adult Protection Act, breach of contractual duties, and alternatively, medical malpractice. The nursing home moved to compel arbitration, and the trial court granted the motion. On appeal from the order compelling arbitration, the agent claims she lacked authority to sign the arbitration agreement because, at the time of admission, the patient was competent to make her own decisions. Even if the patient lacked capacity, the agent argues that the decision to enter into the arbitration agreement was not a “health care decision.” The agent also argues that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable. We affirm the order compelling arbitration.