A Mississippi judge has struck down one woman’s attempt to take her dispute with a nursing home to trial, arguing the verbal consent for an arbitration agreement was sufficient.
Gail Crowe, the daughter of deceased nursing home resident Cletus Rowland, had argued that the arbitration agreement she had signed on behalf of her mother was invalid. That’s because Rowland only gave verbal consent to sign her admission forms, with no formal document establishing their relationship, Crowe argued.
Crowe subsequently sued Golden Living Center in Ripley, MS, and its parent company, GGNSC Ripley LLC, for neglect, alleging its actions caused or contributed to her death, Bloomberg Law reports. GGNSC moved to compel arbitration, rather than taking the case to trial.
Judge Michael P. Mills sided with the company, ruling last week that “verbal instructions may be sufficient to create an agency to sign an arbitration contract on behalf of a nursing home resident,” and that “no formal written document is required in this regard.”
Bloomberg said this decision is the latest in a string of nursing home-related cases that have “elevated the federal policy favoring arbitration over state contract law defenses.”