U.S. Supreme Court

A case involving the validity of arbitration agreements used in Kindred Healthcare facilities will get its day before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a memo released Friday.

The case revolves around the agreement signed by the daughters of two residents of a Kindred Facility in Kentucky. The daughters sued Kindred following their parents’ deaths, claiming negligence on behalf of the provider.

The Supreme Court of Kentucky weighed in on the case, finding that the agreements were not binding, and took away the residents’ “God-given” rights, since they were not signed by the residents themselves.

The American Health Care Association, along with the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, voiced concerns about the impact the state high court’s ruling could have on providers. The groups filed a brief in August asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review the case, calling the Kentucky court’s decision “erroneous” and adding that “providers know that if they attempt to enforce arbitration agreements covering tort disputes, there is a significant possibility that they will have to undergo lengthy and costly litigation over the arbitration agreements’ enforceability.”

“Most troublingly, the enforceability of providers’ arbitration agreements often depends on the answer to a single question having nothing to do with the merits of whether the agreements satisfy general contract principles: Namely, will the motion to compel arbitration be decided in state or federal court?” the brief reads. “Nowhere is that unfortunate reality better demonstrated than with the question presented in this case.”

The case likely will be reviewed and decided before the end of June 2017, when the court adjourns until October.