In the Courts: Arbitration Agreement Held Unenforceable Because Parties Signed but Did Not Print Their Names

March 8, 2019 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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In a negligence and medical malpractice lawsuit against a nursing home and its owners and operators, the Court of Appeals of Arkansas has found an arbitration agreement unenforceable because the parties signed the agreement but did not print their names. The appellate court thus affirmed the trial court's denial of the defendants' motion to compel arbitration, letting the lawsuit proceed.

On the day of her admission, the resident and the nursing home executed both an admission agreement and an arbitration agreement. A sentence near the beginning of the latter agreement stated, "This Arbitration Agreement ('Agreement') is executed by and between _ ('Facility') and _ ('Resident') in conjunction with an agreement for admission and for the provision of nursing facility services (the 'Resident Admission Agreement') by the facility to the Resident." The end of the agreement contained signature lines, with preprinted text under each line indicating the role of each signer, and a place for each party to print his or her name. The resident signed her name above the line marked "Resident." One of the plaintiffs, who held power of attorney for the resident, signed above the line marked "Person authorized to execute this Agreement on behalf of Resident." A staff member signed above the line marked "Authorized Representative of Facility." However, none of the signers printed their names, and nothing was written in...

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