Arbitration agreement signed by daughter with POA ruled unenforceable.

Author:Tammelleo, A. David
Position:Nursing Law Case of the Month

CASE ON POINT: Ping v. Beverly Enterprises, Inc., 2010 Sc 000558 DG--S.W.3d--(8/23/2012)-KY

CASE FACTS: The basic facts in this case were undisputed. In 1998, Alma Duncan executed a writing, entitled "General Power of Attorney," in which she named her daughter, Donna Ping, as her agent. Donna was given authority "to do and perform any, all, and every act and thing whatsoever requisite and necessary to be done to and for all intents and purposes, as I might or could do if personally present, including but not limited to the following. ..." The document then specifically authorized several acts pertaining to the management of Alma's popery and finances, such as "tak[ing] possession of any and all monies, goods, chattels, and effects belonging to me, wheresoever found ... receiving], depositing], investing] and spending funds on my behalf ... taking] charge of any real estate which I may own in my own name or together with other owners, legally or equitably ..." Editor's Note: Space limitations preclude reciting the complete content of the General Power of Attorney. In October 2008, Donna, as the executrix of the Estate of her mother, Alma Duncan, filed suit against the owners and operators of the Golden Living Center (Golden), a long term care facility, where the seventy-nine year old Alma spent the last several months of her life. The executrix alleged that the negligence of Golden's staff and the breach by its management of statutes regulating the provision of nursing home services resulted in injuries to Alma and in her wrongful death. Invoking an Arbitration Agreement executed in conjunction with the decedent's admission to Golden, the defendant moved that the trial court dismiss the complaint or to stay a pending arbitration. The trial court denied the motion on the grounds that Donna, who executed the admissions agreement on behalf of her mother, had not had authority to agree to arbitration, and further that the nursing home had obtained her signature on the agreement by wrongful means and without providing consideration. Golden appealed that ruling to The Court of Appeals, which reversed the order entered by the trial court. The appellate panel rejected the reasons offered by the trial court for invalidating the arbitration agreement, as well as several others offered by the executrix, and held that under Kentucky Revised Statutes and the Uniform Arbitration Act, the arbitration agreement was to be enforced. The Supreme Court of...

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