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Stipanuk v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

May 23, 2018

GERALD STIPANUK, M.D. APPELLANT
v.
SONGELA WILLIAMS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF JOHNNIE MAE WILLIAMS, DECEASED APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, CHICKASAWBA DISTRICT [NO. 47BCV-16-246] HONORABLE RICHARD LUSBY, JUDGE

          Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., by: Ken Cook and Graham Talley, for appellant.

          David A. Couch, PLLC, by: David A. Couch, for appellee.

          RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge

         Dr. Gerald Stipanuk appeals from the Mississippi County Circuit Court's order denying his motion to stay proceedings and to compel arbitration. On appeal, Dr. Stipanuk argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion. We affirm.

         Dr. Stipanuk, a medical doctor, is the medical director of Heritage Square Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (Heritage Square). The medical-director agreement between Dr. Stipanuk and Heritage Square provides in part:

2. Provider Services ..... Provider agrees to be responsible for the peer review activities at the facility, including the overall coordination of medical care for all patients, not only those for whom Provider is the Attending Physician. For purposes hereof, coordination of care means Provider shares responsibility for assuring that the facility is providing an appropriate level and quality of care for its patients as required which involves monitoring and ensuring implementation of patient care policies and providing oversight and supervision of physician services and medical care of patients.
. . . .
10. Independent Contractor. This agreement does not constitute a hiring of Provider as an employee of the facility. It is the parties' intention that Provider shall be an independent contractor and not the facility's employee . . . . This agreement shall not be construed as a partnership, and facility shall not be liable for any obligations incurred by Provider.

         Johnnie Mae Williams was a resident of Heritage Square, and her daughter is Songela Williams. Johnnie Mae was admitted to Heritage Square on June 5, 2015. When Johnnie Mae was admitted, Songela executed an admission agreement and an arbitration agreement with Heritage Square on behalf of Johnnie Mae. The admission agreement provided in part:

         I. FACILITY OBLIGATIONS

. . . .
D. Obtaining physician services. The Facility agrees to exercise due diligence to obtain services of the Patient's personal physician when the Patient's condition requires such medical attention. If the Patient's personal physician is not available, the Facility will exercise due diligence in attempting to ...

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