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Munn v. Haymount Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (704 S.E.2d 290)

north-carolina-elderly-man-abuse-nursing-home-200x300Articles: North Carolina

Munn v. Haymount Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (704 S.E.2d 290)

CASE:
Munn v. Haymount Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (704 S.E.2d 290)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – )- Iris Munn, Administratrix of the Estate of Demetra Murphy (Deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Haymount Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Inc.
COURT:
Court of Appeals of North Carolina (2010)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

On November 10, 2008, Munn, as Administratrix of the Estate of her adult daughter’ estate, filed a complaint against defendant nursing home for wrongful death and statutory negligence. On January 27, 2009, defendant nursing home filed a motion to dismiss and an amended motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion. Defendant appealed.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Demetra Murphy  was admitted to Haymount Rehabilitation Nursing Center after having been hospitalized for a long period of time. At the time, she was not able to speak or communicate with anyone. Haymount did not have any experience with someone on Ms. Murphy’s condition.

Upon Ms. Murphy’s arrival to Haymount, she was accompanied by her husband and her mother Iris Munn (the named plaintiff in the case). Ms. Murphy’s husband was very troubled by the state of the facility when they arrived and was therefore not fully paying attention to the admission process.

In addition, Mr. Mr. Murphy asked that Ms. Munn make the decisions about Ms. Murphy’s care because of logistical reasons with his work schedule and location. Accordingly, Ms. Munn signed the admission paperwork on behalf of her daughter, signifying herself as “Responsible Party.” Ms. Murphy, being an adult, would have needed to designate Ms. Munn the person with authority to make these decisions, but she never did.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial denied the motion to compel arbitration finding that Ms. Murphy on her own behalf or through the authority of a valid representative did not consent to the arbitration agreement.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Was the court correct in finding that there was not a valid arbitration agreement between Ms. Murphy or her estate and the defendant nursing home?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
Yes
RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
“The scope of an agent’s apparent authority is determined not by the agent’s own representations but by the manifestations of authority which the principal accords him.”

  • McGarity v. Craighill, Rendleman, Ingle & Blythe, P.A., 83 N.C.App. 106, 109, 349 S.E.2d 311, 313 (1986)

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