Despite demonstrating little support for consumer interests in frequent pronouncements on mandatory arbitration, the Supreme Court denied review of a nursing home wrongful death case, preserving the day in court for the aggrieved family.  CCL lawyer John Vail was counsel for the successful plaintiff.  Court watchers had identified the case as one the Court might take and reverse.

In the case the Kentucky Supreme Court had decided that the decedent’s signature on an arbitration agreement could not bind the persons damaged by the decedent’s death because they press their own claims, not the claim of the person who was killed.

“The Kentucky court said, in effect:  you have to own the Brooklyn Bridge before you can pass title to someone else,” Vail said.

The Kentucky court also had ruled that a power of attorney which granted authority to do things “necessary” for another person did not grant authority to sign an arbitration agreement that was not required as a condition of admission to a nursing home. 

The nursing home argued that the Kentucky court had discriminated against arbitration and had created obstacles to fulfilling the purposes of the Federal Arbitration Act.

The Supreme Court had summarily reversed three state arbitration decisions in the last eighteen months, a result that the nursing home sought here and that court watchers expected could be achieved

The case is Beverly Enterprises v. Ping, No. 12-652.  Steve O’Brien of Lexington, Kentucky, was counsel in the Kentucky courts.  The case will return to the Kentucky courts to move toward trial by jury.