In the Courts: KY High Court Examines Ability of Attorneys-in-Fact to Agree to Arbitration

November 20, 2015 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Consolidating three cases in which the residents' attorneys-in-fact signed predispute arbitration agreements, the Supreme Court of Kentucky has denied the requests of two nursing home chains, and affiliated organizations and individuals, to compel arbitration. The court's decision hinged in large part on its finding that the power-of-attorney document originally executed between the residents and the attorneys-in-fact did not explicitly enumerate the authority of the attorneys-in-fact to waive the residents' right to seek redress in a court of law. In all three cases, the asserted claims were for personal injuries suffered by the resident and for wrongful death. In each case, the circuit court denied the defendants' motions to compel arbitration.

The high court consolidated the three cases on appeal. In regard to the personal-injury claims, it found that no agreement to arbitrate was validly formed between the defendants and the resident. The three power-of-attorney documents contained language granting the attorney-in-fact powers to "institute or defend suits concerning the resident's property rights," to "transact, handle, and dispose of all matters affecting the resident and/or...

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