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GGNSC Louisville St. Matthews v. Grevious

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

August 23, 2017

GGNSC LOUISVILLE ST. MATTHEWS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ROBERT GREVIOUS, as Guardian of Melvin Hardin, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge.

         Robert Grevious sued various GGNSC entities in Jefferson Circuit Court on behalf of his brother Melvin Hardin, who was a resident of GGNSC's Golden LivingCenter - St. Matthews.[1]Grevious alleged that GGNSC negligently caused injury to Hardin and violated his rights as a nursing-home resident under Kentucky law. (Docket No. 1-1, PageID # 23-31) Grevious also sued two Golden LivingCenter administrators, Kristi Noah and Joshua Schindler. (Id., PageID # 14)

         GGNSC filed its own action in this Court pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, seeking to compel arbitration of Grevious's claims and stay the state-court case. (D.N. 1, PageID # 1-2) GGNSC has moved to compel arbitration (D.N. 4), and Grevious has moved to dismiss on various grounds. (D.N. 7) For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny the motion to dismiss and grant the motion to compel arbitration.

         I.

         Melvin Hardin was admitted to Golden LivingCenter - St. Matthews on January 7, 2016. As part of the admissions process, his attorney in fact (Grevious) signed an alternative dispute resolution agreement. (D.N. 1-2) The ADR Agreement requires the parties to arbitrate

[a]ny and all disputes arising out of or in any way relating to th[e ADR] Agreement or the Resident's stay at the Facility or the Admissions Agreement between the Parties that would constitute a legally cognizable cause of action in a court of law sitting in the state where [the] Facility is located. Covered Disputes include but are not limited to all claims in law or equity arising from one Party's failure to satisfy a financial obligation to the other Party; a violation of a right claimed to exist under federal, state, or local law or contractual agreement between the Parties; tort; breach of contract; consumer protection; fraud; misrepresentation; negligence; gross negligence; malpractice; and any alleged departure from any applicable federal, state, or local medical, health care, consumer, or safety standards.

(D.N. 1, PageID # 5-6 (first alteration in original) (quoting ADR Agreement at 12 § III))[2] The Agreement bound Hardin and his legal representatives. (D.N. 1-2, PageID # 41 § I)

         According to the state-court complaint, GGNSC caused Hardin to suffer infections and pressure sores, as well as “unnecessary loss of personal dignity, extreme pain and suffering, degradation, mental anguish, disability, and disfigurement.” (D.N. 1-1, PageID # 23 ¶ 26) Grevious asserted various claims of negligence against GGNSC on Hardin's behalf. (See id., PageID # 23-31) He further alleged that GGNSC violated Hardin's rights as a long-term care resident under Ky. Rev. Stat. § 216.515. (See id., PageID # 31-32)

         In this case, GGNSC seeks to compel arbitration of Grevious's claims pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act. (D.N. 1) Because the FAA does not provide federal-question jurisdiction, Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 21-22 n.32 (1983), GGNSC invoked the Court's diversity jurisdiction. (See D.N. 1, PageID # 4) Grevious argues that diversity is lacking and that dismissal is warranted on various other legal and equitable grounds. (See D.N. 7-2) None of his arguments are persuasive.

         II.

         The Court has previously rejected, on multiple occasions, all of the arguments made by Grevious in this case. See Brandenburg Health Facilities, LP v. Mattingly, No. 3:15-cv-833-DJH, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79729 (W.D. Ky. June 20, 2016); GGNSC Louisville Mt. Holly, LLC v. Mohamed-Vall, No. 3:16-cv-136-DJH, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81254 (W.D. Ky. Apr. 6, 2016); GGNSC Louisville Hillcreek, LLC v. Watkins, No. 3:15-cv-902-DJH, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25372 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 29, 2016). In the interest of judicial economy, the Court's analysis here will be brief, referring to those prior cases as appropriate.

         A. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

         Grevious first asserts that the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction because an indispensable nondiverse party-namely, Golden LivingCenter administrator Joshua Schindler- was not joined. (D.N. 7-2, PageID # 89-102) Citing Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49 (2009), Grevious argues that the Court must look to the underlying controversy in determining whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists. (D.N. 7-2, PageID # 93) Vaden, however, does not apply in diversity cases. See Watkins, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25372, at *4-*5. And the nursing-home administrators are not indispensable: the Court can decide the entire controversy in their absence; their interests in the litigation are the same as GGNSC's; and there is no danger of inconsistent obligations. See Id. at *5-*7; Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a). The fact that Schindler may be a Kentucky citizen (as is Grevious) thus does not deprive the Court of diversity jurisdiction, and dismissal is not warranted for either lack of subject-matter jurisdiction or failure to join an indispensable party.[3] (See D.N. 7-2, PageID # 89-102)

         B. Colorado ...


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