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Lakeside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Inc. v. Rufkahr

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

February 27, 2019

LAKESIDE NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER, INC. d/b/a Lakeside Nursing Center; Extendi-Care, Inc.; RHC Operations, Inc.; and Reliance Health Care, Inc., Appellants
v.
Lourindia RUFKAHR and Tiana Haley as Power of Attorney for and on Behalf of Billie Jean Haley, Appellees

Page 462

          APPEAL FROM THE CRAIGHEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, EASTERN DISTRICT [NO. 16LCV-16-30], HONORABLE DAN RITCHEY, JUDGE

         Hardin, Jesson & Terry, PLC, Little Rock, by: Jeffrey W. Hatfield, Kynda Almefty, Carol Ricketts, and Kirkman T. Dougherty, Fort Smith, for appellants.

         The Edwards Firm, PLLC, by: Robert H. Edwards, Little Rock; and James, Carter & Priebe, LLP, by: Jeff R. Priebe, Little Rock, for appellees.

         OPINION

         WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

          Appellants Lakeside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Inc., and others[1] (collectively "Lakeside") appeal from the Craighead County Circuit Court’s order denying its motion to compel arbitration of claims brought against it by appellees Lourindia Rufkahr and Tiana Haley as power of attorney for and on behalf of Billie Jean Haley. We affirm.[2]

          Appellees were made power of attorney of Billie Jean Haley on October 9, 2009. There was a second power of attorney signed on December 5, 2013. Billie Jean was admitted into Lakeside Nursing Center on October 27, 2014, via an admission agreement. There was also a "Resident and Facility Arbitration Agreement" signed that day. The agreement stated in pertinent part:

This Arbitration Agreement ("Agreement") is executed by and between _____________________("Facility") and _________________________ ("Resident") in conjunction with an agreement for admission and for the provision of nursing facility services (the "Resident Admission Agreement") by the facility to the Resident. The Facility and Resident are collectively referred to herein as the "Parties." This Agreement is binding on and inures to the benefit of the Facility, the Resident and their successors, heirs, executors, administrations or assigns and survives the lives or existence of the Parties.

Page 463

1. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement is executed in conjunction with the Resident Admission Agreement and hereby stipulates that it evidences a transaction in interstate commerce governed by the Federal Arbitration Act.

2. The Parties understand and agree that all claims, disputes, demands and controversies arising out of, in connection with or relating to any way to the validity, interpretation, or performance of the Resident Admission Agreement, or any service or health care provided by the Facility to the Resident, including any and all claims for equitable relief or claims based on contract, tort, statute, warranty, or any alleged breach, default, negligence, wantonness, fraud, misrepresentation, suppression of facto or inducement ("Claims"), shall be resolved by the fullest extent permitted by federal law exclusively by binding arbitration and not by a lawsuit or resort to court process. This includes all Claims of the Resident and all Claims of the Facility[.]
3. The Parties hereby agree and stipulate that this Agreement shall be exclusively governed by and interpreted under the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. Sections 1-16 ("FAA") to the exclusion of any inconsistent state laws. It is the Parties’ specified intent that all Claims (including tort claims) be resolved exclusively through binding arbitration and, in order to effectuate this intent, the Parties hereby agree and stipulate that this Agreement shall be exclusively governed by and interpreted under the FAA.
4. Arbitration may be initiated by any party or its successors, heirs, executors, administrators or assigns by sending written notice to the other party, either by personal delivery or by the use of the United States mail or other commercial delivery service, or its intention to arbitrate a Claim or Claims. The ...

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