United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
NORTHPORT HEALTH SERVICES OF ARKANSAS, LLC, d/b/a Covington Court Health and Rehabilitation Center; et al. PLAINTIFFS
MARK WESLEY POSEY, Individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of Clyde Wesley Posey, and on Behalf of the Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of Clyde Wesley Posey DEFENDANT
OPINION AND ORDER
HOLMES, III, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment
(Doc. 37), brief in support of their motion (Doc. 38), and
statement of facts in support of their motion (Doc. 39).
Defendant filed a response in opposition and counter-motion
for summary judgment (Doc. 40), a brief in support (Doc. 41),
and a response to Plaintiffs' statement of facts (Doc.
42). Plaintiffs filed a reply (Doc. 44) in support of their
motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs also filed a response
(Doc. 45) to Defendant's counter-motion for summary
judgment and a brief in support (Doc. 46). Defendant filed a
reply (Doc. 47) in support of his counter-motion for summary
reasons stated herein, the Court will GRANT IN PART and DENY
IN PART Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 37)
and DENY Defendant's counter-motion for summary judgment
Wesley Posey (“Clyde”) was admitted to Northport
Health Services of Arkansas, LLC d//b/a Covington Court
Health and Rehabilitation Center (“Covington
Court”) on September 2, 2004. In connection with his
admission, Clyde and his son, Matt Posey
(“Matt”), signed an admission agreement, which
included an arbitration agreement. (Doc. 1-2).
8 of the admission agreement, which contains the arbitration
agreement, states that “THE PARTIES ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BY
ENTERING INTO THIS ARBITRATION AGREEMENT, THEY ARE GIVING UP
THEIR RIGHT TO HAVE ANY SUCH DISPUTE DECIDED IN A COURT OF
LAW BEFORE A JUDGE OR JURY, AND INSTEAD ARE ACCEPTING THE USE
signed the admission agreement as the “Resident”
and Matt signed the agreement as Clyde's
“Responsible Party.” The admission agreement
defines Responsible Party, in part, as a person “who
agrees to assist [Covington Court] in providing for [the
Resident's] health, care, and maintenance.”
Further, Section 2 of the admission agreement states that
“[t]he Responsible Party represents to the Facility
that he or she manages, uses, directs or controls funds or
assets which may be used to pay for Resident's Facility
charges and/or that he or she tends to make decisions for or
otherwise act on behalf of Resident.”
Appendix D of the admission agreement, an arbitration consent
form, reiterates that the signatories consent to the
arbitration agreement contained in Section 8. Clyde signed
Appendix D as the Resident and Matt signed Appendix D as
Clyde's Responsible Party.
Clyde's death, Mark Wesley Posey (“Mark”),
acting as special administrator of Clyde's estate, filed
suit against Plaintiffs in the Circuit Court of Sebastian
County, Arkansas, alleging negligence and other claims
arising from Clyde's stay at Covington Court. Plaintiffs
filed this suit seeking to compel arbitration of
Defendant's state court claims and to enjoin state court
proceedings on Defendant's claims.
Legal Standard for Summary Judgment
party moves for summary judgment, it must establish both the
absence of a genuine dispute of material fact and that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56; Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Nat'l Bank
of Commerce of El Dorado, Ark. v. Dow Chem. Co., 165
F.3d 602, 606 (8th Cir. 1999). In order for there to be a
genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must
produce evidence “such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Allison
v. Flexway Trucking, Inc., 28 F.3d 64, 66-67 (8th Cir.
1994) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). Only facts “that might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law” need
be considered. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
“[T]he non-movant must make a sufficient showing on
every essential element of its claim on which it bears the
burden of proof.” P.H. v. Sch. Dist. of Kan. City,
Mo., 265 F.3d 653, 658 (8th Cir. 2001). Facts asserted
by the nonmoving party “must be properly supported by
the record, ” in which case those “facts and the
inferences to be drawn from them [are viewed] in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Id. at
only issue before the Court on summary judgment is whether
the arbitration agreement included in the admission agreement
is valid and enforceable.
a valid arbitration agreement has been entered into is a
question of law, controlled by the applicable state contract
law. Davidson v. Cingular Wireless LLC, 2007 WL
896349 at *2 (E.D. Ark. Mar. 23, 2007). Arkansas law provides
that the essential elements of a contract are: (1) competent
parties; (2) ...