State ex rel. AMFM, LLC v. Circuit Court (King) (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
Nancy Belcher was the designated health care surrogate of decedent Beulah Wyatt. Belcher signed an arbitration agreement that was presented to her when she sought to admit Wyatt to the McDowell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (McDowell Nursing). Wyatt died after living ten months in the nursing home. Lelia Baker subsequently filed a wrongful death suit against McDowell Nursing alleging that its negligent care of Wyatt caused and/or contributed to her death. McDowell Nursing filed a motion to dismiss and to enforce the arbitration agreement. The circuit court denied the motion and concluded that the agreement was unenforceable because Belcher did not have the authority to waive Wyatt's right to a jury trial. The Supreme Court denied McDowell Nursing's subsequent request for a writ of prohibition to prevent the circuit court from enforcing its order, holding that Belcher, as a health care surrogate, did not have the authority to enter the arbitration agreement because it was not a health care decision and was not required for Wyatt's receipt of nursing home services from McDowell Nursing.