Nursing home arbitration scores another win with state high court ruling

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A skilled nursing provider won a court victory last week when the Wyoming Supreme Court agreed an arbitration agreement signed by a deceased resident's daughter was binding.

The resident's family said the agreement, signed by a daughter with power of attorney, was not sufficiently broad enough to authorize arbitration. But the court disagreed.

The resident died following discharge from Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation-Wind River in 2014, and one of the daughters sued. Another daughter had signed an alternative dispute resolution agreement upon the resident's admission in 2010, prompting Kindred to move to arbitrate the case.

A district court had sided with the family, dening Kindred's motion to compel arbitration.

The state's highest court reversed the lower court's order on Oct. 12, ruling that the daughter with power of attorney had been sufficient for the agreement.

The ruling is the latest in a string of wins for arbitration agreements in nursing homes, following the Supreme Court of the United States' May ruling that power of attorney documents did not have to specifically grant people permission to sign arbitration agreements. Also, the Trump administration announced in July that it would not appeal a court ruling that blocked an Obama-era rule prohibiting pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes.