BROADWAY HEALTH & REHAB, LLC, d/b/a BROADWAY HEALTHCARE CENTER; BROADWAY HEALTH HOLDINGS, LLC; ARKANSAS SNF OPERATIONS ACQUISITION III, LLC; ARKANSAS NURSING HOME ACQUISITION, LLC; CSCV HOLDINGS II, LLC; CAPITAL FUNDING GROUP, INC.; ALAN ZUCCARI; BRIAN REYNOLDS; JOHN W. DWYER; SLC PROFESSIONALS, LLC; SLC PROFESSIONALS AR7, LLC; ADDIT, LLC; AND JACK H. SMITH, IN HIS CAPACITY AS ADMINISTRATOR OF BROADWAY HEALTHCARE CENTER APPELLANTS
CATHERINE ROBERTS, AS GUARDIAN OF THE PERSON AND ESTATE OF EVELYN KING, AN INCAPACITATED PERSON APPELLEE
FROM THE CRITTENDEN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 18CV-15-646]
HONORABLE TOMMY FOWLER, JUDGE
Rock LLP, by: Mark W. Dossett, Scott Jackson, and Samantha B.
Leflar, for appellants.
& Cook, PLC, by: Bryce D. Cook; and James, Carter &
Priebe, LLP, by: Jeff Priebe, for appellee.
W. GRUBER, Chief Judge
Roberts sued Broadway Health & Rehab, LLC, and related
entities (collectively "Broadway") for medical
malpractice, negligence, and violations of the Arkansas
Long-Term Care Residents' Rights Act for injuries her
mother, Evelyn King, sustained while a resident at Broadway
Health & Rehab in West Memphis. Broadway appeals from an
order denying its motion to compel arbitration. Broadway argues
on appeal that the circuit court erred in finding that the
Federal Arbitration Act did not apply, in denying Broadway
the opportunity to conduct discovery regarding Ms.
Roberts's authority to sign the agreement for her mother,
and in finding that the third-party-beneficiary doctrine was
inapplicable. Broadway also argues that nonsignatories to the
arbitration agreement may enforce the agreement. We hold that
there was no valid arbitration agreement and that the circuit
court did not abuse its discretion in denying Broadway the
opportunity to conduct further discovery. Accordingly, we
affirm the circuit court's order denying the motion to
compel arbitration. This disposition renders all other issues
Ms. King was admitted to the facility on March 5, 2013, Ms.
Roberts signed the relevant paperwork, which included an
arbitration agreement. The arbitration agreement lists Evelyn
N. King in the space immediately next to "Print Resident
Name." Directly beneath that line is a signature space
in which Ms. Roberts signed her name next to the date. The
following appears directly under her signature:
Signature of (1) Resident or (2) Resident Representative
If Resident Representative, please check the basis of your
[ ] Power of Attorney (attach document)
[ ] Court-Appointed Guardian (attach document)
[ ] Other. Please explain. __
"Resident" nor "Resident Representative"
was circled. The box next to "Other" was checked,
with the explanation "Daughter" written on the
blank line next to it.
November 24, 2015, Ms. Roberts, as guardian of the person and
estate of Evelyn King, filed a complaint against Broadway
alleging negligence, medical malpractice, and violations of
the Arkansas Long-Term Care Residents' Rights Act.
Specifically, Ms. Roberts alleged that Ms. King was admitted
to the facility for incapacity due to a previous stroke and
that during her time there she sustained numerous injuries,
including a severe injury to her left hand; and she suffered
from illnesses, including infection, poor hygiene, poor
nutrition, and unnecessary pain and suffering. Broadway
answered and then filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and
compel arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act,
arguing that Ms. Roberts, on behalf of her mother, executed a
binding arbitration agreement that encompassed the claims in
her complaint. In the alternative, Broadway argued that, if
the court found Ms. Roberts lacked authority to bind her
mother, the arbitration agreement was valid under the
third-party-beneficiary doctrine. Ms. Roberts resisted
arbitration, claiming that Broadway did not own the facility
when the arbitration agreement was signed and thus was not a
party to the agreement and could not enforce it; Ms. Roberts
lacked the authority to bind Ms. King; and the
third-party-beneficiary doctrine was inapplicable because
there was no valid underlying agreement between Ms. Roberts
a hearing, the circuit court denied Broadway's motion to
compel arbitration, finding that the arbitration agreement
was invalid as a matter of law, that Ms. King did not execute
the agreement, that Ms. Roberts lacked the legal capacity to
bind Ms. King to the terms of the arbitration agreement, that
the third-party-beneficiary doctrine was inapplicable, and
that the Federal Arbitration Act did not apply to Ms.
Roberts's claims. ...