Standing as a health surrogate doesn’t allow appointees to enter into nursing home arbitration agreements or other business agreements with providers, a Florida appeals court has ruled.

The decision kicks the case surrounding former nursing home resident Stanley Chanson back to a lower court. Manor Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation, where Chanson lived before his death in 2017, wanted to handle claims from his estate in arbitration.

The Ft. Lauderdale nursing home argued that Chanson had appointed his son and a friend, Rosemarie Campbell, as healthcare surrogates. His son, acting as a healthcare power of attorney, signed an arbitration agreement at admission.

But in a six-page ruling, the Fourth District Court of Appeal said a lawsuit filed by Campbell in Broward County following Chanson’s death could proceed because healthcare appointees don’t have the power to make non-health-related decisions.

The ruling did not address the claims made in Campbell’s suit.

“The heart of this case is whether a document that designates a healthcare surrogate is broad enough to allow that surrogate to consent to an arbitration provision in a nursing home admission form,” wrote Judge Robert Gross. “We hold that the narrow focus of the document is on the surrogates’ power to make healthcare decisions, not business choices concerning dispute resolution.”