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Ggnsc Louisville Camelot, LLC v. Coppedge

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

August 8, 2017

GGNSC LOUISVILLE CAMELOT, LLC, PLAINTIFFS
v.
JOYCE COPPEDGE, DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THOMAS B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This case requires the Court to venture into familiar territory. On behalf of her husband Benjamin, Joyce Coppedge signed a contract requiring Benjamin to arbitrate all claims arising from his stay at Golden LivingCenter (GLC) Camelot, a nursing home. The Coppedges later filed suit in state court, alleging Benjamin suffered injuries due to inadequate care. In turn, Plaintiffs filed this suit, seeking to enforce Benjamin's arbitration agreement and enjoin the Coppedges from further pursing related state court litigation.

         In an effort to stave off arbitration, the Coppedges raise a litany of arguments - all of which have been previously rejected by this Court on multiple prior occasions. This case presents no reason to depart from that precedent. The Coppedges must arbitrate their claims against these Plaintiffs, save for Joyce's loss of consortium claim. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss [DN 6] is DENIED, and Plaintiffs' motion to compel arbitration [DN 5] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         The facts relevant to the instant motions are undisputed. In August 2014, Benjamin Coppedge was admitted to GLC Camelot, a nursing home in Louisville, Kentucky. [DN 6-2 at 1.] During his stay, the Coppedges allege Benjamin “suffered physical and emotional injuries due to inadequate care, and his health and physical condition deteriorated beyond that caused by the normal aging process.” [Id. at 2.] They filed suit in Jefferson County, Kentucky Circuit Court against various persons and entities associated with GLC Camelot.[1] That case is styled Coppedge, v. GGNSC Louisville Camelot LLC, d/b/a Golden LivingCenter - Camelot, , Civil Action No. 16-CI-005560. See [DN 1-2.] In their state suit, the Coppedges assert various negligence and statutory claims. Joyce also asserts a claim for loss of spousal consortium.

         Plaintiffs then filed this suit in federal court, naming the Coppedges as defendants. See [DN 1.] They claim that a document executed by Joyce, Benjamin's power of attorney, requires all of the Coppedges' claims against them be submitted to arbitration. That document, entitled the “Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement, ” states that Benjamin and the nursing home “agree that any disputes covered by this Agreement . . . that may arise between them shall be resolved exclusively by an ADR process that shall include mediation and . . . binding arbitration.” [DN 1-1 at 2.] The agreement was signed by Joyce Coppedge and a representative of GLC Camelot. [Id. at 5.]

         In pertinent part, the agreement provides that it applies to “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 that would constitute a legally cognizable cause of action.” [Id. at 3.] The first page contains conspicuous language regarding the waiver of a right to a jury trial:

THE PARTIES UNDERSTAND, ACKNOWLEDGE, AND AGREE THAT THEY ARE SELECTING A METHOD OF RESOLVING DISPUTES WITHOUT RESORTING TO LAWSUITS OR THE COURTS, AND THAT BY ENTERING INTO THIS AGREEMENT, THEY ARE GIVING UP THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO HAVE THEIR DISPUTES DECIDED IN A COURT OF LAW BY A JUDGE OR JURY, THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT THEIR CLAIMS AS A CLASS ACTION AND/OR TO APPEAL ANY DECISION OR AWARD OF DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE ADR PROCESS EXCEPT AS PROVIDED HEREIN.

[Id. at 2 (emphasis in original).] Signing the agreement was not a condition of Benjamin's admission to GLC Camelot. [Id. at 2.] Joyce signed the agreement on Benjamin's behalf pursuant to a durable power of attorney (POA). See [DN 1-3.] Benjamin's POA contains the following general grant of authority:

I give my attorney-in-fact the following powers:
7. AUTHORITY TO ACT-For me and in my name, place and stead, I give and grant unto my Attorney-in-fact full power and authority to do every act necessary, requisite, or proper to be done in and about the premises as fully as I might or could do if personally present as she/he may think fit.

[Id. at 2 (emphasis removed).]

         After Benjamin and Joyce filed suit in Jefferson Circuit Court, Plaintiffs initiated this action. They seek to enforce the arbitration agreement and compel the Coppedges' claims against them in the state action to arbitration. The Coppedges oppose arbitration and seek dismissal of Plaintiffs' complaint.

         II. Discussion

         As this Court recently recognized, Defendants' arguments are not novel. GGNSC Louisville Mt. Holly, LLC v. Turner, No. 3:16-CV-00149-TBR, 2017 WL 537200, at *3 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 9, 2017). Rather, each argument has been raised before, and rejected by, multiple federal district judges sitting in this Commonwealth. See Id. (listing cases). As more fully explained below, Defendants' motion to dismiss must be denied. However, under Kentucky law, Joyce Coppedge's loss of consortium claim belongs to her, and not to Benjamin. ...


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