SSC Montgomery Cedar Crest Operating Company, LLC v. Bolding

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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.

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REL: 03/22/2013 Notice: T h i s o p i n i o n i s s u b j e c t t o f o r m a l r e v i s i o n b e f o r e p u b l i c a t i o n i n t h e advance s h e e t s o f Southern R e p o r t e r . R e a d e r s a r e r e q u e s t e d t o n o t i f y t h e Reporter of Decisions, A l a b a m a A p p e l l a t e C o u r t s , 300 D e x t e r A v e n u e , M o n t g o m e r y , A l a b a m a 3 6 1 0 4 - 3 7 4 1 ( ( 3 3 4 ) 2 2 9 ¬ 0 6 4 9 ) , o f a n y t y p o g r a p h i c a l o r o t h e r e r r o r s , i n o r d e r t h a t c o r r e c t i o n s may b e made b e f o r e t h e o p i n i o n i s p r i n t e d i n Southern R e p o r t e r . SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA OCTOBER TERM, 2012-2013 1120122 SSC Montgomery Cedar C r e s t Operating Company, LLC v. Linda B o l d i n g , as a t t o r n e y i n f a c t and next f r i e n d o f Norton Means Appeal from Montgomery C i r c u i t (CV-12-900311) STUART, Court Justice. SSC Montgomery C e d a r C r e s t O p e r a t i n g Company, LLC ("SSC Montgomery"), appeals t h e j u d g m e n t o f t h e Montgomery Circuit Court denying i t s motion t o compel a r b i t r a t i o n o f the m e d i c a l - 1120122 malpractice claim asserted against i t by a t t o r n e y i n f a c t and n e x t f r i e n d o f h e r We Linda Bolding, as f a t h e r , N o r t o n Means. affirm. I. On January 8, 2012, experiencing stroke approximately January Means and/or 25, was heart-attack 2012, he was C r e s t , a nursing-home f a c i l i t y operated receive rehabilitation recovered. was completed the paperwork and nursing A t t h e t i m e Means was accompanied by his necessary completed r e s o l u t i o n a g r e e m e n t ("the signed waived t h e i r right d i s p u t e arose b e t w e e n them and s u c h d i s p u t e by way of mediation by DRA") by SSC to Cedar while jury t r i a l he Pleasant, his behalf. Pleasant was Among a i n the who the dispute"parties" event i n s t e a d agreed to r e s o l v e a any of a d i s p u t e - r e s o l u t i o n program c o n s i s t i n g and b i n d i n g a r b i t r a t i o n . The DRA further defined t h e t e r m " p a r t i e s " as i n c l u d i n g : "(a) who w o u l d c o u r t on estate, a he t o Cedar C r e s t , p r o v i d i n g t h a t the t o a judge or On Montgomery, t o services Michelle p a p e r w o r k on after symptoms. admitted admitted daughter, and hospitalized [ T ] h e r e s i d e n t , any and a l l f a m i l y members have t h e r i g h t t o b r i n g a c l a i m i n s t a t e b e h a l f of the r e s i d e n t or the r e s i d e n t ' s l e g a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e , i n c l u d i n g a power o f 2 1120122 a t t o r n e y f o r h e a l t h c a r e and/or f i n a n c i a l matters or a c o u r t a p p o i n t e d g u a r d i a n , o r any o t h e r person whose c l a i m i s d e r i v e d t h r o u g h o r on b e h a l f o f t h e r e s i d e n t , i n c l u d i n g , i n a d d i t i o n to those a l r e a d y listed in this definition, any parent, spouse, c h i l d , executor, a d m i n i s t r a t o r , h e i r or s u r v i v o r e n t i t l e d t o b r i n g a w r o n g f u l d e a t h c l a i m , and (b) t h e f a c i l i t y , [ r e l a t e d c o r p o r a t e e n t i t i e s , and any of t h e i r employees or a g e n t s ] . " Pleasant line signed her name on i n d i c a t e d f o r the the final page o f t h e DRA on "Signature of Legal R e p r e s e n t a t i v e F a m i l y Member" and u n d e r t h e f o l l o w i n g a or paragraph: " I f r e s i d e n t i s adjudged incompetent, section: complete this " I am t h e s p o u s e , r e s p o n s i b l e p a r t y , l e g a l guardian o r power o f a t t o r n e y of the r e s i d e n t and have t h e a u t h o r i t y t o s i g n t h e a g r e e m e n t on h i s / h e r b e h a l f . In s i g n i n g t h i s Agreement, the L e g a l R e p r e s e n t a t i v e or F a m i l y Member b i n d s b o t h t h e R e s i d e n t and themselves individually." On M a r c h 2, 2012, 6, 2012, another Means was h o s p i t a l i z e d again. of h i s daughters, On March L i n d a B o l d i n g , whom Means had p r e v i o u s l y g r a n t e d a d u r a b l e power o f a t t o r n e y , s u e d Montgomery, a l l e g i n g t h a t Cedar C r e s t cared causing for Means, malnourishment, and an him untreated 3 to staff had n e g l i g e n t l y suffer infection SSC dehydration, t h a t combined to 1120122 result SSC in his hospitalization Montgomery filed both on M a r c h 2. 1 i t s answer On A p r i l 5, denying 2012, Bolding's a l l e g a t i o n s and a m o t i o n t o c o m p e l a r b i t r a t i o n p u r s u a n t t o t h e terms of t h e DRA. Bolding subsequently f i l e d a a r g u i n g t h a t i t w o u l d be i m p r o p e r t o e n f o r c e t h e DRA response, because, she a r g u e d , P l e a s a n t h a d no l e g a l a u t h o r i t y t o a c t on Means's behalf a t t h e t i m e P l e a s a n t e x e c u t e d t h e DRA. Following a S e p t e m b e r 12, 2012, h e a r i n g , t h e t r i a l c o u r t e n t e r e d an o r d e r d e n y i n g SSC October 2, Montgomery's m o t i o n 2012, SSC Montgomery t o compel filed arbitration. i t s timely On notice of denying a motion to appeal to t h i s Court. II. Our compel standard of review of a r u l i n g arbitration i s well settled: " ' T h i s C o u r t r e v i e w s de novo t h e d e n i a l o f a m o t i o n t o compel a r b i t r a t i o n . P a r k w a y Dodge, I n c . v. Y a r b r o u g h , 779 So. 2d 1205 ( A l a . 2000) . A m o t i o n t o compel a r b i t r a t i o n i s a n a l o g o u s t o a m o t i o n f o r a summary j u d g m e n t . T r a n S o u t h F i n . C o r p . v. B e l l , ^ B o l d i n g ' s c o m p l a i n t a l s o named as d e f e n d a n t s f o u r o t h e r c o r p o r a t e e n t i t i e s she a l l e g e d were r e l a t e d t o SSC Montgomery, as w e l l as two C e d a r C r e s t e m p l o y e e s . However, t h o s e c o r p o r a t e e n t i t i e s were l a t e r d i s m i s s e d by a g r e e m e n t o f t h e p a r t i e s , and t h e two C e d a r C r e s t e m p l o y e e s d i d n o t j o i n i n t h e m o t i o n t o compel a r b i t r a t i o n t h a t i s t h e s u b j e c t o f t h i s a p p e a l ; t h e r e f o r e , i n t h i s o p i n i o n , we r e f e r t o o n l y SSC Montgomery. 4 1120122 739 So. 2d 1110, 1114 ( A l a . 1999). The party s e e k i n g t o c o m p e l a r b i t r a t i o n has t h e b u r d e n o f p r o v i n g the e x i s t e n c e of a c o n t r a c t c a l l i n g f o r a r b i t r a t i o n and p r o v i n g t h a t t h e c o n t r a c t e v i d e n c e s a t r a n s a c t i o n a f f e c t i n g i n t e r s t a t e commerce. Id. " [ A ] f t e r a m o t i o n t o c o m p e l a r b i t r a t i o n has b e e n made and s u p p o r t e d , t h e b u r d e n i s on t h e non-movant to present evidence t h a t the supposed a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t i s n o t v a l i d o r does n o t a p p l y t o t h e dispute i n question." J i m B u r k e A u t o m o t i v e , I n c . v. B e a v e r s , 674 So. 2d 1260, 1265 n. 1 ( A l a . 1995) ( o p i n i o n on a p p l i c a t i o n f o r r e h e a r i n g ) . ' " E l i z a b e t h Homes, L.L.C. v. 2003) 277, (quoting 280 Gantt, 882 Fleetwood Enters., (Ala. So. Inc. 2d v. 313, 315 Bruno, 784 (Ala. So. 2d 2000)). III. There is arbitration contract no dispute the DRA evidences commerce. The a that exists a contract in this transaction calling c a s e and that affecting i s s u e here i s whether the DRA for that interstate applies to the c l a i m s b r o u g h t by B o l d i n g on b e h a l f o f Means, n e i t h e r o f whom signed the DRA. nonsignatory arbitrate 807 So. exceptions general t o an a r b i t r a t i o n her 2d The claims." 524, to t h i s 526 rule, rule is a g r e e m e n t c a n n o t be Cook's P e s t (Ala. see i n Alabama However, g e n e r a l l y MTA, 5 "a forced to C o n t r o l , I n c . v. 2001)). Lynch, P i e r c e , Fenner & Smith, Inc., that [Ms. Inc. Boykin, there v. are Merrill 1111167, December 7, 1120122 2012] So. 3d , ( A l a . 2012), and t h i s c r e a t e d a d i s t i n c t body o f c a s e l a w c o n s i d e r i n g the i s s u e how a n d when a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t s owners and o p e r a t o r s o f n u r s i n g and/or their See Owens v . C o o s a (Ala. So. residents' family members V a l l e y H e a l t h Care, 2004); B r i a r c l i f f Inc. e x e c u t e d by t h e and t h e i r residents s h o u l d be e n f o r c e d . I n c . , 890 So. 2d 983 894 2d 661 ( A l a . 2 0 0 4 ) ; N o l a n d H e a l t h S e r v s . v. W r i g h t , 971 v. B e v e r l y E n t e r s . 978 So. 2d 27 ( A l a . 2 0 0 7 ) ; a n d T e n n e s s e e v. J o h n s o n , 49 So. 3d 175 ( A l a . 2010) . Court of Appeals this specifically N u r s i n g Home, I n c . v. T u r c o t t e , So. 2d 681 ( A l a . 2 0 0 7 ) ; C a r r a w a y Inc., homes C o u r t has caselaw Dothan, f o r the Eleventh C i r c u i t i n Entrekin P.A., 689 F.3d concluded, c o r r e c t l y , v. Internal 1248, 1259 The U n i t e d S t a t e s recently Medicine reviewed Assocs. of and t h a t t h e p r i n c i p l e t o be e x t r a c t e d from resident representative. H e a l t h Mgmt., (11th C i r . 2012), t h e s e c a s e s i s t h a t an a r b i t r a t i o n nursing-home Alabama, also agreement t h a t b i n d s t h e binds the resident's Thus, i n o r d e r t o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r Bolding i s b o u n d b y t h e DRA, we must d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r Means was b o u n d by t h e DRA. F o r t h e r e a s o n s t h a t f o l l o w , we c o n c l u d e he was not. 6 1120122 The o n l y e v i d e n c e b e f o r e t h e C o u r t i n t h i s c a s e i n d i c a t e s t h a t Means was m e n t a l l y i n c o m p e t e n t when he was C e d a r C r e s t and t h e DRA does not even time. January argue that evidence The affidavit was of submitted 25, 2012, by my capacity SSC "If he was Means's father which 2 Moreover, she includes m e n t a l l y incompetent and f a t h e r d i d n o t have t h e m e n t a l P l e a s a n t s i g n e d t h e DRA, Montgomery, u n d e r n e a t h treated competent adult. ( A l a . 2011) injects differently a paragraph itself under See, e.g., an "On that agreement a t p r o v i d e d her instructed: r e s i d e n t i s adjudged incompetent, complete t h i s been relevant states: C h i l d r e n and t h e m e n t a l l y i n c o m p e t e n t have 678 Montgomery a t any incompetency in was My competent t o g i v e h i s c o n s e n t t o an a r b i t r a t i o n that time." by e x e c u t e d ; i n d e e d , SSC Bolding physically incapacitated. admitted to the law than section." traditionally the standard Ex p a r t e E.R.G., 73 So. 3d (Main, J . , d i s s e n t i n g ) i n t o the a f f a i r s ("The 634, state necessarily o f c h i l d r e n and t h e m e n t a l l y C i t i n g Queen v. B e l c h e r , 888 So. 2d 472, 477-78 ( A l a . 2 0 0 3 ) , SSC Montgomery a r g u e s t h a t t h e s t a t e m e n t s i n B o l d i n g ' s a f f i d a v i t r e g a r d i n g Means's c o m p e t e n c y c a n n o t be c o n s i d e r e d ; h o w e v e r , SSC Montgomery d i d n o t o b j e c t t o t h a t a f f i d a v i t o r move t o s t r i k e i t , even t h o u g h i t f i l e d a r e p l y t o t h e f i l i n g to which the affidavit was a t t a c h e d as an exhibit. C o n s i d e r a t i o n o f t h e a f f i d a v i t i s t h e r e f o r e p r o p e r . Ex p a r t e S e c r e t a r y o f V e t e r a n s A f f a i r s , 92 So. 3d 771, 777 ( A l a . 2012) . 2 7 1120122 i n c o m p e t e n t when t h e y a r e i n need o f p r o t e c t i o n b e c a u s e d e v e l o p m e n t a l d i f f e r e n c e s and t h e i r e n v i r o n m e n t a l r e n d e r them more v u l n e r a b l e than competent w h i l e we have h e l d t h a t c o m p e t e n t may be bound by arbitration 49 incompetent So. 3d agreements estate was b o u n d wrongful-death claims nursing home whether also signed or to arbitrate to an p e r s o n a l - i n j u r y and arbitration was i n c o m p e t e n t and t h a t V i c k y ' s next friend Health stemming f r o m D o r o t h y ' s t r e a t m e n t a t a pursuant Dorothy that the a d m i n i s t r a t o r of Dorothy provision 971 So. 2d a t contract court's when t h e c o n t r a c t as t h e " r e s p o n s i b l e "was ineffective was party" to bind Dorothy o r h e r p e r s o n a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e t o t h e agreement." 971 So. 2d a t 686. on t h a t signature in a Willis, A p l u r a l i t y of the Court agreed with the t r i a l that their indicate In Nolan when D o r o t h y was a d m i t t e d t o t h e n u r s i n g home. finding homes by c o n t r a c t e x e c u t e d by Dorothy's d a u g h t e r - i n - l a w , V i c k y 683. And, 978 So. 2d a t 30-31, a n d a r e n o t so b o u n d . S e r v i c e s , we c o n s i d e r e d Willis's adults."). executed a t 176, o u r c a s e s residents restraints residents of nursing r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , s e e , e.g., C a r r a w a y , Johnson, their In support of that c o n c l u s i o n , the p l u r a l i t y o p i n i o n q u o t e d Page v. L o u i s v i l l e & N a s h v i l l e R.R., 8 129 A l a . 1120122 232, 238, 29 So. 676, 678 "one who p u r p o r t s compos mentis' (1901), f o r the proposition t o a c t m e r e l y as a ' n e x t f r i e n d ' i s 'wholly without authority Noland Health 971 So. 2d a t 686. Of course, Noland Health Services opinion, and i t s p r e c e d e n t i a l v a l u e Ex Achenbach, parte this o f a 'non t o make a n y c o n t r a c t t h a t would b i n d her or her e s t a t e . ' " Servs., that Court Noland Health recognized a plurality i s accordingly limited. (Ala. 2000). However, the p r i n c i p l e f o r which 783 So. 2d 4, 7 subsequently was S e r v i c e s i s now c i t e d i n J o h n s o n . 3 I n Johnson, T e n n e s s e e H e a l t h Management ("THM") a p p e a l e d t h e d e n i a l o f i t s motion to enforce Rousseau Johnson, wrongful-deaths an who claims arbitration was agreement prosecuting against THM against Carol p e r s o n a l - i n j u r y and i n her capacity as t h e p e r s o n a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e e s t a t e o f D o l o r e s R o u s s e a u , who allegedly operated was injured b y THM. while a resident of a nursing 49 So. 3d a t 176. When D o l o r e s was t o t h a t n u r s i n g home, h e r d a u g h t e r B a r b a r a home admitted Rousseau had s i g n e d The U n i t e d S t a t e s C o u r t o f A p p e a l s f o r t h e E l e v e n t h C i r c u i t concluded i n E n t r e k i n that p a r t of the h o l d i n g i n N o l a n d H e a l t h S e r v i c e s was i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h Briarcliff, Carraway, and Johnson. 689 F. 3d a t 1255-60. However, i t i s u n n e c e s s a r y f o r us t o c o n s i d e r t h a t a n d o t h e r a s p e c t s o f t h e Noland H e a l t h S e r v i c e s h o l d i n g i n t h i s case. 3 9 1120122 an a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t w i t h THM, indicating was that Dolores admitted ... was 49 So. evidence m e n t a l l y i n c o m p e t e n t when 3d a t 176-77. Services, Carol subsequently was b u t " [ t ] h e r e i s no C i t i n g Noland argued to t h i s Court that Health Dolores n o t b o u n d by t h e a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t b e c a u s e she had signed i t . 49 So. 3d at 180. This argument, d i s t i n g u i s h i n g N o l a n d H e a l t h Court she rejected not her S e r v i c e s as f o l l o w s : " C a r o l r e l i e s upon N o l a n d H e a l t h S e r v i c e s , I n c . v. W r i g h t , 971 So. 2d 681 ( A l a . 2 0 0 7 ) . In Noland, a plurality of this Court held that a d a u g h t e r - i n - l a w ' s s i g n a t u r e as t h e r e s p o n s i b l e p a r t y on a nursing-home arbitration agreement was i n e f f e c t i v e t o b i n d the r e s i d e n t t o the agreement. N o l a n d i s d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from t h i s case, however, because the nursing-home r e s i d e n t i n Noland was m e n t a l l y i n c o m p e t e n t and c o u l d n o t a u t h o r i z e anyone t o a c t on h e r b e h a l f and b e c a u s e t h e daughter-in-law d i d n o t s i g n any document i n t h e c a p a c i t y o f h e r mother-in-law's l e g a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e . " Johnson, 49 So. 3d at 180-81. We thereafter held that the d i d bind Dolores and a g a i n s t C a r o l , thus r e c o g n i z i n g the a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t e x e c u t e d by B a r b a r a was therefore enforceable d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t s s i g n e d on b e h a l f o f n u r s i n g - h o m e r e s i d e n t s who a r e i n c o m p e t e n t and t h o s e s i g n e d b e h a l f o f n u r s i n g - h o m e r e s i d e n t s who at 181. 10 are competent. 49 So. on 3d 1120122 SSC Montgomery distinguishable argues that Noland i n a s m u c h as V i c k y Health Willis Services d i d not sign contract containing the a r b i t r a t i o n p r o v i s i o n i n Noland Services as Dorothy's legal Montgomery a s s e r t s , P l e a s a n t representative. assertion that however, w i t h signed the DRA the Health while, d i d s i g n t h e DRA as Means's We d i s a g r e e , Pleasant representative, is SSC legal SSC Montgomery's as Means's legal representative. The s i g n a t u r e b l o c k on t h e DRA i n d i c a t e s t h a t Pleasant t h e DRA Member." above the as " L e g a l (Emphasis added.) the signature document sign signed line on that the signer t o be someone make i t s o . power of [the resident's] else's legal of the f o r Means, and behalf," she also does n o t stated submitted to the t r i a l "no l e g a l a u t h o r i t y b y h i m o r anyone e l s e t o e n t e r 11 that or has n e v e r h e l d a affidavit [DRA] on h i s b e h a l f . " court merely else's behalf representative I t i s undisputed that Pleasant attorney Family he o r she has " t h e a u t h o r i t y t o c l a i m i n g t o h a v e l e g a l a u t h o r i t y on someone claiming or Moreover, although the paragraph indicates i s asserting that agreement Representative she was i n an granted i n t o the 1120122 SSC Montgomery argues i n the alternative that the d o c t r i n e o f a p p a r e n t a u t h o r i t y s h o u l d n e v e r t h e l e s s b i n d Means, and b y e x t e n s i o n B o l d i n g , t o t h e DRA. I n C a r r a w a y , we a p p l i e d the to hold doctrine of apparent authority that Shirley C a r r a w a y , a n u r s i n g - h o m e r e s i d e n t , was b o u n d b y an a r b i t r a t i o n agreement s i g n e d by h e r b r o t h e r Richard Carraway: " J u s t as R i c h a r d s i g n e d a l l t h e o t h e r documents r e l a t i n g to S h i r l e y ' s admission i n t o the nursing home on S h i r l e y ' s b e h a l f , Richard signed the a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t on S h i r l e y ' s b e h a l f e x p r e s s l y as an 'authorized representative.' Apparent a u t h o r i t y ' i s i m p l i e d where t h e p r i n c i p a l p a s s i v e l y p e r m i t s t h e agent t o appear t o a t h i r d person t o have the authority t o a c t on [her] b e h a l f . ' T r e a d w e l l F o r d , I n c . v. C o u r t e s y A u t o B r o k e r s , I n c . , 426 So. 2d 859, 861 ( A l a . C i v . App. 1 9 8 3 ) . 'It i s n o t e s s e n t i a l t h a t t h e r i g h t o f c o n t r o l be e x e r c i s e d so l o n g as t h a t r i g h t a c t u a l l y e x i s t s . ' Wood C h e v r o l e t Co. v. Bank o f t h e S o u t h e a s t , 352 So. 2d 1350, 1352 ( A l a . 1977) . T h e r e i s no e v i d e n c e indicating that S h i r l e y had any o b j e c t i o n t o R i c h a r d ' s a c t i n g on h e r b e h a l f i n a d m i t t i n g S h i r l e y t o t h e n u r s i n g home. On t h e c o n t r a r y , t h e e v i d e n c e suggests t h a t S h i r l e y approved of her b r o t h e r ' s a c t i n g on h e r b e h a l f . A few weeks i n t o S h i r l e y ' s r e s i d e n c y a t t h e n u r s i n g home, she e x e c u t e d a power of a t t o r n e y , g i v i n g R i c h a r d f u r t h e r a u t h o r i t y t o a c t 1 -p II on h e r b e h a l f . " 978 So. 2d a t 30-31. We likewise applied the doctrine of apparent a u t h o r i t y i n Johnson, s t a t i n g t h a t Dolores " p a s s i v e l y permitted act on B a r b a r a t o a p p e a r t o THM t o have t h e a u t h o r i t y t o her behalf, and B a r b a r a ' s 12 apparent authority i s , 1120122 therefore, implied." 49 So. 3d a t 180. However, i n both C a r r a w a y a n d J o h n s o n t h e n u r s i n g - h o m e r e s i d e n t was c o m p e t e n t and effectively made by their acquiesced t o and/or r a t i f i e d respective representative, a p p l i c a t i o n of the apparent-authority the decisions thus doctrine making t h e appropriate. In c o n t r a s t , t h e o n l y e v i d e n c e i n t h e r e c o r d i n t h i s 4 case i n d i c a t e s t h a t Means i s i n c o m p e t e n t a n d t h u s u n a b l e t o empower an a g e n t , w h e t h e r p a s s i v e l y o r t h r o u g h a f f i r m a t i v e a c t s . J o h n s o n , 49 So. 3d a t 180-81 See ("[T]he n u r s i n g - h o m e r e s i d e n t i n N o l a n d was m e n t a l l y i n c o m p e t e n t a n d c o u l d n o t a u t h o r i z e anyone t o a c t on h e r b e h a l f purported basis apparent a u t h o r i t y . upon which Northington to apply liable estoppel, may have under the doctrine the p r i n c i p a l must the doctrine v. D a i r y l a n d 2d 283, 286 ( A l a . 1984) ( " [ I ] n o r d e r held Pleasant t o be Means's l e g a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e , b u t t h a t i s an insufficient So. " ) . Thus, a t b e s t Co., 445 f o r a p r i n c i p a l t o be of apparent have Ins. of engaged authority i n some and conduct T h e r e i s some i n d i c a t i o n i n C a r r a w a y t h a t S h i r l e y may have b e e n i n c o m p e t e n t a t t h e t i m e she was a d m i t t e d t o t h e n u r s i n g home, a l t h o u g h R i c h a r d ' s argument was p r e m i s e d on t h e c l a i m t h a t she was i n f a c t c o m p e t e n t . 978 So. 2d a t 29-30. Regardless, i t i s undisputed t h a t she a p p a r e n t l y became c o m p e t e n t a t some p o i n t b e c a u s e she e x e c u t e d a power o f attorney i n favor of Richard a f t e r her admittance. 4 13 1120122 which led a third party to believe a u t h o r i t y to a c t f o r the p r i n c i p a l . " that the agent had (emphasis a d d e d ) ) . See a l s o G r a y v. G r e a t A m e r i c a n R e s e r v e I n s . Co., 607 (Ala. 1986) (noting that one 495 cannot So. 2d "blindly trust" another's statements r e g a r d i n g the e x t e n t of h i s or her p o w e r ) , and 252 So. City 2d 45, Stores 51 Co. (1971) DRA e x e c u t e d by However, we 287 A l a . 385, 391, rests it."). hold Pleasant; emphasize Williams, agent burden of p r o v i n g agency ("The upon t h e p a r t y a s s e r t i n g I n c o n c l u s i o n , we v. 602, t h a t Means was not b o u n d by t h e r e f o r e , B o l d i n g was that this conclusion not i s not b e c a u s e Means d i d n o t p e r s o n a l l y e x e c u t e t h e DRA. the bound. reached Rather, i t i s b e c a u s e a l l t h e e v i d e n c e i n t h e r e c o r d i n d i c a t e s t h a t Means is incompetent. Thus, while Bolding, as the d u r a b l e power o f a t t o r n e y g r a n t e d by Means, may to b i n d him t o an a r b i t r a t i o n holder could a have b e e n a b l e agreement, P l e a s a n t , a f a m i l y member o r n e x t f r i e n d , of as merely not. IV. Bolding and s u e d SSC next f r i e n d , received at arbitration Montgomery as Means's a t t o r n e y alleging Cedar i n the Crest. medical SSC malpractice Montgomery i n the moved c a s e p u r s u a n t t o an a r b i t r a t i o n 14 to in fact care he compel agreement 1120122 Pleasant signed when Means was however, t h e t r i a l c o u r t d e n i e d the judgment of the trial admitted that motion. court, holding to Cedar Crest; We h e r e b y that affirm Pleasant's s i g n a t u r e on t h e a r b i t r a t i o n a g r e e m e n t was i n e f f e c t i v e t o b i n d Means, and by extension his legal representative b e c a u s e t h e e v i d e n c e i n d i c a t e s he was m e n t a l l y the time Pleasant incompetent at e x e c u t e d the agreement. AFFIRMED. Moore, C . J . , a n d P a r k e r and W i s e , J J . , c o n c u r . Murdock, J . , c o n c u r s i n t h e r e s u l t . 15 Bolding,