STAP, INC., D/B/A ST. ANDREWS PLACE; KILGORE CONSULTING GROUP, INC.; AND JOSHUA KILGORE, APPELLANTS
LAGATHA SUTTERFIELD, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF JAMES SUTTERFIELD, AND ON BEHALF OF THE WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES OF JAMES SUTTERFIELD, APPELLEE
FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. [NO. 23CV-18-1270].
HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE.
Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., by:
Benjamin D. Jackson and Lauren S. Grinder, for appellants.
Reddick Moss, PLLC, by: Matthew D. Swindle and Robert W.
Francis, for appellee.
MEREDITH B. SWITZER, Judge. ABRAMSON and WHITEAKER, JJ.,
B. SWITZER, Judge
LaGatha Sutterfield, as special administrator of her
husband's estate and on behalf of his wrongful-death
beneficiaries, filed a lawsuit against STAP, Inc., d/b/a St.
Andrews Place; Kilgore Consulting Group, Inc.; and Joshua
Kilgore (" St. Andrews Place" ). She asserted
claims of negligence, medical malpractice, breach of the
admission agreement, and deceptive trade practices. St.
Andrews Place filed a motion to compel arbitration and to
dismiss the case. The motion was denied, and this appeal
followed. St. Andrews Place contends that (1) the arbitration
agreement is a valid and enforceable contract under Arkansas
law and (2) the circuit court erred in relying on Pine
Hills Health & Rehabilitation, LLC v. Matthews, 2014
Ark. 109, 431 S.W.3d 910, and Regional Care of
Jacksonville, LLC v. Henry, 2014 Ark. 361, 444 S.W.3d
356. Our jurisdiction is pursuant to Rule 2(a) of the
Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure— Civil. We
January 18, 2018, James Sutterfield was admitted to St.
Andrews Place, a longterm care facility. His wife, LaGatha
Sutterfield, signed the admission agreement on his behalf.
" T[racy] Moore" signed the admission agreement on
behalf of St. Andrews Place. On the same date, LaGatha also
signed the arbitration agreement, albeit on the wrong line,
but no one from St. Andrews Place signed it. James died on
May 28, 2018. On August 24, 2018, LaGatha filed the
underlying action in circuit court, asserting claims of
negligence, medical malpractice, breach of the admission
agreement, and deceptive trade practices.
October 18, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to compel
arbitration and dismiss the action. At the hearing on the
motion, only counsels' arguments were heard, and no
witnesses were presented. The circuit court thereafter
entered its letter opinion on January 18, 2019. The court
ruled that the arbitration agreement was not enforceable and
denied the motion to compel and dismiss. The order denying
the motion was filed on January 22, and this appeal followed.
admission agreement provides in pertinent part, under the
" Miscellaneous" section:
F. Modifications. No modification of the terms and conditions
of this Agreement shall be valid unless in writing and signed