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GGNSC Louisville St. Matthews, LLC v. Badgett

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

July 20, 2017




         For a time, Joseph Badgett resided in Golden LivingCenter (GLC) Mt. Holly, a nursing home in Louisville, Kentucky owned by Golden Gate National Senior Care, LLC (GGNSC) and its related entities. Upon his admission, Badgett agreed to arbitrate all his claims against GLC Mt. Holly. During the next two years, Badgett was admitted to several other nursing homes and hospitals. He eventually landed at GLC St. Matthews, another Louisville nursing home owned by GGNSC. This time, Badgett declined to enter into an arbitration agreement identical to the one he signed at GLC Mt. Holly.

         Sadly, Badgett died while a resident at GLC St. Matthews. His estate brought a negligence and wrongful death action in state court. The sole issue is whether Petitioners can compel that action to arbitration based upon the GLC Mt. Holly agreement. The Court holds they cannot.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         The facts of this case are straightforward and undisputed. Joseph Badgett was admitted to GLC Mt. Holly, a GGNSC facility, in June 2013. [DN 1 at 5.] As part of his admissions paperwork, he signed a document called an “Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement.” [DN 1-2 at 2.] Executing the agreement was not a condition of Badgett's admission to the GLC Mt. Holly facility. [Id.]

         The Mt. Holly agreement states that it “is entered into by GLC - Mt. Holly, (‘Facility'), and Joseph Badgett.” [Id.] It defines “facility” as, in pertinent part, “the living center, its employees, agents, officers, directors, affiliates and any parent or subsidiary of Facility.” [Id.] The agreement further states that “[i]t is the intent of the Parties that this Agreement shall inure to the benefit of, bind, and survive them, their successors, and assigns.” [Id.] Lastly, the agreement says it “shall remain in effect for all care and services rendered to the Resident at or by the Facility regardless of whether the Resident is subsequently discharged and readmitted to the Facility without renewing, ratifying, or acknowledging this Agreement.” [Id. at 4.]

         By its terms, the Mt. Holly agreement requires any “Covered Disputes” between the parties to be resolved by mediation or arbitration. [Id.] “Covered Disputes” are “any and all disputes arising out of or in any way relating to this Agreement or to the Resident's stay at the Facility or the Admissions Agreement between the Parties.” [Id. at 3.] The agreement then goes on to set out the rules and procedures for dispute resolution. See [id. at 3-4.] Badgett and a GLC Mt. Holly representative signed on the last page. [Id. at 6.]

         It is unclear how long Badgett resided at GLC Mt. Holly. However, by January 2015, he was in Jewish Hospital. See [DN 12-6 at 1.] Over the next few months, Badgett cycled between his home, the hospital, and a non-GGNSC nursing home. See [DN 12-1 at 6.] In September, he was admitted to GLC St. Matthews, where he stayed until his death on February 16, 2016. [Id. at 1.]

         Badgett executed two documents upon his admission to GLC St. Matthews. The first was another “Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement.” [DN 12-5 at 1.] The St. Matthews agreement is identical to the Mt. Holly agreement, except that “GLC, St. Matthews” is substituted as the “Facility.” [Id.] However, on the last page, Badgett signed below the line stating, “The Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement above set forth is hereby DECLINED.” [Id. at 4.]

         The second document was Badgett's admissions agreement to GLC St. Matthews. See [DN 12-4.] The majority of the admissions agreement details the terms of Badgett's stay, including consent to treatment, financial arrangements, and the like. However, the language relevant to this case appears on the agreement's fifth page:

XI. Entire Agreement
This Agreement and the Notices given to you upon admission constitute the entire Agreement between you and us for the purposes of your admission to our LivingCenter. There are no other agreements, understandings, restrictions, warranties or representations between you and us as a condition of your admission to our LivingCenter. This Agreement supersedes any prior admission contracts regarding your admission to our LivingCenter. However, if you execute, or have executed, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement with us in connection with any admission to our LivingCenters, then that Agreement shall be, and remain, binding upon you, and upon us, in accordance with the terms that are set forth in that Agreement.

[Id. at 5.]

         Following Badgett's death, his estate brought suit in Jefferson County, Kentucky state court against several GGNSC-related entities, two nursing home administrators, and three John Doe defendants.[1]See [DN 1-1 at 2.] The estate alleges those defendants, through their negligence, caused Joseph to “suffer[] accelerated deterioration of his health and physical condition ...

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