Bishop v. Medical Facilities of America (2004 WL 1858694 (Va.Cir.Ct.))

virginia-elderly-woman-nursing-home-abuse-200x300Articles: Virginia

Bishop v. Medical Facilities of America (2004 WL 1858694 (Va.Cir.Ct.))

CASE:
Bishop v. Medical Facilities of America (2004 WL 1858694 (Va.Cir.Ct.))
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Joseph Bishop, Executor of the Estate of Eva Bishop (Deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Medical Facilities of America
COURT:
Circuit Court of Virginia, City of Roanoke (2004)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

Joseph Bishop, Executor of the Estate of Eva Bishop, brought a wrongful death action against the Defendant nursing facility. The facility filed a motion to dismiss and, failing that, a motion to compel arbitration.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

On August 9, 2002, Eva Bishop was admitted to the Defendant’s healthcare center where she remained a resident until her death on September 15, 2002. At the time of Eva’s admission, her son, Joseph Bishop (the named plaintiff in this case), signed the admission documents because his mother “lacked the physical ability and mental capacity to do so.”

At the time of Eva’s admission, Joe Bishop held her power of attorney. Within the documents was a Binding Arbitration clause indicating that the resident and facility agreed that “ALL CLAIMS DISPUTES OR DISAGREEMENTS between them (or their respective successors, assigns or representatives)” would be resolved through BINDING ARBITRATION. Joseph Bishop signed the documents on the line marked “Responsible Party.”

After Eva’s death, Joseph brought the above action for wrongful death against the facility.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

No. The Defendant’s Plea in Bar, Motion to Compel Arbitration and Motion to Dismiss was denied.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Is the wrongful death action filed by the Executor of the Estate of Eva Bishop subject to the mandatory arbitration provision contained in a nursing home care contract which Eva Bishop did not sign but was clearly entered into for her benefit?

RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
“Arbitration agreements cannot be extended by construction or application… The law is clear that persons who are not parties to an arbitration agreement cannot be compelled to participate in arbitration.”

  • City of Peru v. Illinois Power Company, 258 Ill.App.3d 309, 196 Ill.Dec. 519, 630 N.E.2d 454, 457 (1994)

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After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric