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Campagna v. GGNSC Louisville Hillcreek, LLC

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

June 19, 2018

DORIS CAMPAGNA, Executrix of the Estate of Franklin Grimes, Plaintiff,
v.
GGNSC LOUISVILLE HILLCREEK, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge

         Doris Campagna sued Defendant GGNSC Louisville Hillcreek, LLC, on behalf of her father Franklin Grimes, who was a resident of Golden Living Center - Hillcreek, a skilled nursing facility operated by GGNSC. (See D.N. 1-1) Campagna alleges that GGNSC violated Grimes's rights as a nursing-home resident under Kentucky law and negligently injured him, ultimately resulting in his wrongful death. (Id.)

         GGNSC removed the action to this Court and seeks to compel arbitration of Campagna's claims. (D.N. 1; D.N. 5) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant in part GGNSC's motion to compel arbitration, excluding Campagna's wrongful-death claim.

         I. Background

         Franklin Grimes was first admitted to Hillcreek on January 11, 2010, and stayed until his discharge on November 8, 2010. (D.N. 14-2; D.N. 16-1) Beginning in February 2013, Grimes was readmitted and discharged on a No. of occasions, staying at Hillcreek from February 19, 2013 to March 8, 2013 (D.N. 14-3), March 21, 2013 to March 23, 2013 (D.N. 14-4), and March 25, 2013 until his death on June 11, 2015 (D.N. 14-5; D.N. 14-14). During his final stay at Hillcreek, Grimes left the facility for periodic admissions to the local Veterans Affairs Hospital. (See D.N. 46-1; D.N. 46-2)

         GGNSC contends that as part of the admissions process, Grimes entered into three separate arbitration agreements: January 11, 2010 (D.N. 16-1); February 19, 2013 (D.N. 5-1, PageID # 31-34); and March 26, 2013 (id., PageID # 35-38). The 2013 Agreements each require the parties to arbitrate

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.

(Id., PageID # 32, 36) The 2010 Agreement contains similar language. (D.N. 16-1, PageID # 152) The Agreements also contain a remain-in-effect clause, which states that the Agreements' provisions would remain in effect for all subsequent stays at Hillcreek, even if Grimes was discharged from and readmitted to the facility. (D.N. 5-1, PageID # 33, 37; D.N. 16-1, PageID # 153) Additionally, GGNSC maintains that Grimes entered into two admissions contracts pertaining to his February 19, 2013 and March 25, 2013 admissions to Hillcreek. Each contract states:

This [Admissions] 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.

(D.N. 42-2, PageID # 430, 440)

         In this action, Plaintiff Doris Campagna asserts various claims of negligence against GGNSC on Grimes's behalf. (See D.N. 1-1) According to the complaint, GGNSC failed to discharge its obligations to Grimes, and in so failing, caused Grimes to suffer injuries, which resulted in his wrongful death. (See id.) GGNSC moves to compel arbitration pursuant to the alleged arbitration agreements between Grimes and GGNSC. (D.N. 1; D.N. 5) Campagna sought limited discovery on the issues raised in her response brief to GGNSC's motion to compel arbitration. (D.N. 15) Specifically, Campagna questioned the validity of the Agreements based on the order in which they may have been presented to Grimes. (See D.N. 14) In a memorandum opinion and order entered August 14, 2017, Magistrate Judge Colin H. Lindsay granted Campagna's request for limited discovery. (D.N. 27) Following completion of the limited discovery, the parties filed supplemental briefs on the issue. (D.N. 37; D.N. 38) On March 20, 2018, the Court ordered the parties to complete further supplemental briefing on three outstanding issues. (D.N. 39) After submission of the briefs, this matter is ripe for review. (See D.N. 40; D.N. 42; D.N. 43; D.N. 44)

         II. Wrongful Death

         As an initial matter, arbitration of Campagna's wrongful-death claim may not be compelled. See Richmond Health Facilities v. Nichols, 811 F.3d 192 (6th Cir. 2016); see also Brandenburg Health Facilities, LP v. Mattingly, No. 3:15-cv-833-DJH, 2016 WL 3448733, at *6 (W.D. Ky. June 20, 2016). And GGNSC concedes that Campagna's wrongful-death claim is not arbitrable. (D.N. 42-1, PageID # 412-13) Accordingly, the Court will not compel arbitration of the wrongful-death claim. Campagna may pursue that claim in this Court.

         III. Motion to Compel Arbitration

The Federal Arbitration Act states that
[a] party aggrieved by the alleged failure, neglect, or refusal of another to arbitrate under a written agreement for arbitration may petition any United States district court . . . for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in such agreement . . . . The court shall hear the parties, and upon being satisfied that the making of the agreement for arbitration or the failure to comply therewith is not in issue, the court ...

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