Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Kentucky decided a group of cases brought against a number of nursing homes alleging personal injury. The cases themselves have little to do with each other, but they were consolidated by the court because they all presented the same issue: whether the nursing home was able to compel arbitration based on the contract that they had on file from each resident.
The relevant facts of the cases are simple. Each plaintiff was admitted to a nursing home with the assistance of someone who possessed power of attorney. As a part of the admission process, the nursing home required that a contract was signed. One clause in each of the contracts stated that any problems or disputes that arose between the parties would be settled through arbitration, rather than through the court system. For each of the plaintiffs, the person who possessed power of attorney was the person to actually sign the document.
When the nursing home residents were injured by the alleged negligence of the nursing homes at issue, the family members of those involved filed suit against the nursing home. The nursing homes, in response, sought to dismiss the cases based on the signed contract consenting to arbitration in the event of a problem.