Doe v. Carmel Operator, LLCAnnotate this Case
In this case involving an agreement to arbitrate, the Supreme Court reiterated the elements of equitable estoppel required for an outside party not contemplated by the agreement to enforce an arbitration clause against a signatory and reversed the trial court's determination that a third party could compel arbitration, holding that none of the traditional elements of equitable estoppel were satisfied.
Jane Doe's legal guardian (Guardian) arranged for Jane to live at Carmel Senior Living (CSL) and initialed an arbitration agreement. Guardian later filed a complaint against CSL; its management company, Spectrum; and one of its employees, claiming that the employee had sexually abused Jane and that CSL and Spectrum (together, CSL) were vicariously liable. Guardian later amended the complaint to add Certiphi Screening, the company CSL had hired to run background checks on new employees. The defendants demanded arbitration. The trial court granted the motions to compel arbitration, concluding that the agreement covered CSL and that equitable estoppel mandated arbitration of Guardian's claims against Certiphi. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Certiphi did not meet the requirements of equitable estoppel.