Corum v. Roswell Senior Living, LLC (149 N.M. 287, 248 P.3d 329)

New-Mexico-nursing-home-neglect-elderly-300x200Articles: New Mexico

Corum v. Roswell Senior Living, LLC (149 N.M. 287, 248 P.3d 329)

CASE:
Corum v. Roswell Senior Living, LLC (149 N.M. 287, 248 P.3d 329)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Sherri Corum, Personal Representative of the beneficiaries of Mary Jo Herbert (deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Roswell Senior Living, LLC.
COURT:
Court of Appeals of New Mexico (2010)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

Plaintiff brought a wrongful death action against the defendant stemming from the death of her mother, a  resident of defendant nursing home. Nursing home filed a motion to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration. The district court denied the motion. Nursing home appealed.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

In December of 2003, Mary Jo Herbert executed a two- part power of attorney in which granted Sherri Corum attorney- in- fact relating to Ms. Herbert’s medical and financial well- being. On March 15, 2006, Herbert was admitted to defendant’s nursing home facility by her husband, Edward Herbert.

At the time, Edward had no written authority designating him as an agent with power- of- attorney, guardian, or designation as a surrogate. Edward signed the nursing home’s admission agreement that incorporated an arbitration agreement that would require all disputes between the parties be adjudicated through arbitration proceedings rather than the courts.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial court denied defendant’s motion, finding that Edward lacked the authority to enter Ms. Herbert into the arbitration agreement to begin with.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Did the trial court err in ruling that Ms. Herbert’s husband did not qualify as a healthcare surrogate for his wife, as required to admit her into the nursing home?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
No
RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
The New Mexico Health- Care Decisions Act dictates that two conditions be met in order for a person to be admitted into a nursing home facility. First, the person admitted to the facility must be admitted based on the conclusions of two physicians in regard to the capacity of the person admitted. Second, if there exists an individual with the express power to make health- care decisions on behalf of a principal, there must be a showing of that individual’s approval or unavailability before a surrogate may make a health- care decision.

The court found that neither of these conditions was met.

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