SSC Montgomery Cedar Crest Operating Company, LLC v. BoldingAnnotate this Case
SSC Montgomery Cedar Crest Operating Company, LLC appealed a circuit court judgment denying its motion to compel arbitration of the medical-malpractice claim asserted against it by Linda Bolding, as attorney in fact and next friend of her father, Norton Means. In early 2012, Means was hospitalized after experiencing stroke and/or heart-attack symptoms. He was admitted to Cedar Crest, a nursing-home facility operated by SSC Montgomery, to receive rehabilitation and nursing services while he recovered. At the time Means was admitted to Cedar Crest, he was accompanied by his daughter, Michelle Pleasant, who completed the necessary paperwork on his behalf. Among the paperwork completed and signed by Pleasant was a dispute-resolution agreement (the "DRA") providing that the "parties" waived their right to a judge or jury trial in the event a dispute arose between them and instead agreed to resolve any such dispute by way of a dispute-resolution program consisting of mediation and binding arbitration. Several months later, Means was hospitalized again. In the second hospitalization, another of his daughters, Linda Bolding, whom Means had previously granted a durable power of attorney, sued SSC Montgomery, alleging that Cedar Crest staff had negligently cared for Means, causing him to suffer dehydration, malnourishment, and an untreated infection that combined to result in his second hospitalization. SSC Montgomery filed both its answer denying Bolding's allegations and a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the terms of the DRA. Bolding subsequently filed a response, arguing that it would be improper to enforce the DRA because Pleasant had no legal authority to act on Means's behalf at the time Pleasant executed the DRA. Following a September hearing, the trial court entered an order denying SSC Montgomery's motion to compel arbitration. SSC Montgomery then appealed to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Court concluded that Pleasant's signature on the arbitration agreement was ineffective to bind Means, and by extension his legal representative Bolding, because the evidence indicates he was mentally incompetent at the time Pleasant executed the agreement.