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GGNSC Louisville St. Matthews v. Madison

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

May 25, 2017

GGNSC LOUISVILLE ST. MATTHEWS, d/b/a Golden Living Center--St. Matthews, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ANTHONY MADISON, as Guardian of William Madison, Incapacitated, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge.

         In 2012, William Madison, Jr. was admitted to the Golden Living Center, a nursing home operated by GGNSC Louisville St. Matthews, LLC. Prior to admission, Anthony Madison, Sr. signed an arbitration agreement as William Madison, Jr.'s attorney-in-fact. During William Madison, Jr.'s stay at the Golden Living Center, he allegedly suffered physical and emotional injuries due to inadequate care. The instant action raises questions about how the claims related to those alleged injuries must be adjudicated. Anthony Madison, Sr. (as William Madison, Jr.'s guardian) maintains that any litigation ought to proceed in state court. In contrast, GGNSC argues that the dispute should go to an arbiter. The Court agrees with GGNSC. Accordingly, Anthony Madison, Sr.'s Motion to Dismiss, [R. 7], is DENIED, and GGNSC's Motion to Compel Arbitration and Enjoin Proceedings, [R. 4], is GRANTED.

         I.

         A.

         In August 2012, William Madison, Jr. was admitted to the Golden Living Center, a nursing home operated by GGNSC Louisville St. Matthews, LLC, in Louisville, Kentucky. [R. 1 at 5, ¶ 17 (Complaint).] During the relevant time period, Anthony Madison, Sr. exercised control over William Madison, Jr.'s affairs as his attorney-in-fact. [Id., ¶ 18.] The power of attorney granted Anthony Madison, Sr.

maximum power under law to perform any act on [William Madison, Jr.'s] behalf that [he] could do personally including but not limited to, all acts relating to any and all of [William Madison, Jr.'s] financial transactions and/or business affairs including all banking and financial institution transactions, all real estate or personal property transactions, all insurance or annuity transactions, all claims and litigation, and any and all business transactions.

[R. 1-3 at 2 (Power-of-Attorney Document).] As part of the admissions process, Anthony Madison, Sr. signed an arbitration agreement on William Madison, Jr.'s behalf. [R. 1 at 5, ¶ 19.] The arbitration agreement required the parties to arbitrate “any and all disputes arising out of or in any way relating to [the arbitration agreement] or [William Madison, Jr.'s] stay” at the Golden Living Center. [R. 1-2 at 3, § III (Arbitration Agreement).]

         During William Madison, Jr.'s stay at the Golden Living Center, he allegedly suffered physical and emotional injuries due to inadequate care, resulting in an expedited, unnatural deterioration in his health. [R. 1-1 at 13, ¶¶ 29-30 (State Court Complaint).] In response, Anthony Madison, Sr. (as his guardian) sued GGNSC and its affiliated entities, along with various administrators at the Golden Living Center, in Jefferson County Circuit Court for negligence, medical negligence, corporate negligence, and for violating a long-term care resident's statutory rights.[1] [Id. at 14-29, ¶¶ 32-74.] The record does reveal much about the status of the state-court litigation.

         B.

         Before answering the allegations made in the state-court litigation, GGNSC filed this action against Anthony Madison, Sr. [R. 1 at 8-10, ¶¶ 33-44.] Soon after, it filed a motion to compel arbitration and enjoin the state-court litigation discussed earlier. [R. 4 (Motion to Compel Arbitration and Enjoin Litigation).] In lieu of an answer, Anthony Madison, Sr. moved to dismiss GGNSC's action on several grounds. [R. 7 (Motion to Dismiss).] Those competing motions are ripe for decision.

         II.

         The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16, “embodies [a] national policy favoring arbitration and places arbitration agreements on equal footing with all other contracts.” Richmond Health Facilities v. Nichols, 811 F.3d 192, 195 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Seawright v. Am. Gen. Fin. Servs., Inc., 507 F.3d 967, 972 (6th Cir. 2007)). Under the Act, a written agreement to arbitrate disputes arising out of a contract or transaction involving interstate commerce “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. There are “two parallel devices for enforcing an arbitration agreement: a stay of litigation in any case raising a dispute referable to arbitration, 9 U.S.C. § 3, and an affirmative order to engage in arbitration, § 4.” Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 22 (1983). Before compelling a party to arbitration under 9 U.S.C. § 4, the Court “must engage in a limited review to determine whether the dispute is arbitrable, ” meaning “[1] that a valid agreement to arbitrate exists The administrators named in the state-court action include Joshua Schindler, Brian Mueller, Allyson Skaggs, Lisa Davis, and Kristi Noah. [Id. at 9-11, ¶¶ 13-17.] The Court will refer to them as the “administrators.” None of the administrators are parties to the instant action. between the parties and [2] that the specific dispute falls within the substantive scope of the agreement.” Richmond Health Facilities, 811 F.3d at 195 (quoting Javitch v. First Union Sec., Inc., 315 F.3d 619, 624 (6th Cir. 2003)); see also Masco Corp. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 382 F.3d 624, 627 (6th Cir. 2004). If the Court is satisfied that the parties formed a valid agreement to arbitrate, it must compel the parties resolve the covered dispute in the contracted-for manner. See 9 U.S.C. § 4.

         III.

         The Court first addresses Anthony Madison, Sr.'s motion to dismiss before turning to GGNSC's motion to compel arbitration. Anthony Madison, Sr. makes seven arguments in an effort to escape arbitration. None of them are novel. In some form or fashion, each one has been raised before and rejected time and again. Still, the Court will address each in turn. Ultimately, it finds no reason to depart from this Circuit's well-settled positions.

         A.

         Anthony Madison, Sr. begins with an attack directed at the Court's subject-matter jurisdiction. [R. 7-2 at 3-11 (Memorandum in Support).] Of the two kinds of original jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1332, this case concerns the one labeled “diversity.” The Court exercises such jurisdiction in “all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between” parties who are “citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). If a party thinks that such jurisdiction might be wanting, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure afford that person an avenue for relief.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), the doubting party may move to dismiss an action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Challenges of that sort come in one of two forms: a facial attack or a factual attack. Wayside Church v. Van Buren Cty., 847 F.3d 812, 816 (6th Cir. 2017). A facial attack questions “merely the sufficiently of the pleading.” Gentek Bldg. Prod., Inc. v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 491 F.3d 320, 330 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Ohio Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. United States, 922 F.2d 320, 325 (6th Cir. 1990)). In a challenge of that sort, the Court takes the allegations in the complaint as true. Id. (citing Ohio Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 922 F.2d at 325). When assessing a factual attack, in contrast, the Court “does not presume that the plaintiff's factual allegations are true.” Glob. Tech., Inc. v. Yubei (XinXiang) Power Steering Sys. Co., 807 F.3d 806, 810 (6th Cir. 2015) (citing Russell v. Lundergan-Grimes, 784 F.3d 1037, 1045 (6th Cir. 2015)). Instead, the Court must “weigh evidence to confirm the existence of the factual predicates for subject-matter jurisdiction.” Carrier Corp. v. Outokumpu Oyj, 673 F.3d 430, 440 (6th Cir. 2012) (citing RMI Titanium Co. v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1133 (6th Cir. 1996)).

         No one disputes that complete diversity of the parties is apparent from the face of GGNSC's complaint. GGNSC and its affiliated entities are variously citizens of California, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, and Nebraska. [R. 1 at 2-4, ¶¶ 2-9.] Anthony Madison, Sr. is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. [Id. at 4, ¶ 10.] Therefore, it appears that GGNSC has sufficiently pleaded diversity of citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).

         But Anthony Madison, Sr. disagrees. Relying on Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49 (2009), he urges the Court to “look through” GGNSC's petition to his state-court action for purposes of determining the diversity of the parties. If the Court were to do that, the inclusion the administrators (who are citizens of Kentucky) in the jurisdictional calculus would destroy complete diversity.

         The Court declines to do so. Anthony Madison, Sr.'s argument rests on a strained interpretation of Vaden. Vaden dealt with a petition to compel arbitration premised on federal-question jurisdiction. Id. at 59-60. In that context, the Supreme Court instructed federal courts to “look through” the petition to the predicate state-court action and determine if that action, standing alone, met the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Id. at 62. However, Vaden's holding is limited to those cases involving federal-question jurisdiction. See Northport Health Servs. of Ark., LLC v. Rutherford, 605 F.3d 483, 488 (8th Cir. 2010). It has no application to cases, such as this one, involving diversity jurisdiction. See, e.g., GGNSC Stanford, LLC v. Gilliam, 205 F.Supp.3d 884, 888 (E.D. Ky. 2016); Preferred Care, Inc. v. Howell, 1 ...


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