Regulations authorizing family members to admit elderly relatives to residential care facilities do not authorize them to enter arbitration agreements.
Kellie Tennier, Theresa D.’s daughter and authorized representative, executed an arbitration agreement when admitting Theresa D. to Muirwoods Memory Care, a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE). When Theresa D. sued Muirwoods for negligently allowing her to fall and fracture her hip, Muirwoods moved to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion, finding Tennier was not Teresa D.’s agent for purposes of the arbitration agreement. Muirwoods appealed.
The Court of Appeal affirmed. First, it rejected Muirwood’s argument that the arbitration agreement delegated to the arbitrator the question whether Tennier was authorized to execute the agreement on behalf of Theresa D. That threshold question was for the court to decide. Second, although RCFE regulations expressly authorized Tennier, as a “family member,” to admit Theresa D. to Muirwood, the regulations do not authorize family members to bind residents to arbitration.
The bulletin describing this appellate decision was originally prepared for the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys (CSHA) by H. Thomas Watson and Peder K. Batalden, Horvitz & Levy LLP, and is republished with permission.