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Court erred in denying nursing home’s motion to compel arbitration

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A trial court incorrectly concluded that an arbitration agreement contained in a nursing home’s facility admission agreement was ambiguous because the parties bound by the agreement are not clearly named, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.

Birdie Sherls’ son, Oliver Sherls, signed an agreement with Lincolnshire Health Care Center to admit his mother to the facility after she suffered a stroke. In the agreement, “Lincolnshire” was handwritten in as a party. The agreement also included an arbitration clause.

Less than a year after she was admitted, Birdie Sherls died from bed sores and stage four decubitus ulcers, which led to sepsis. Her estate filed a lawsuit against Lincolnshire alleging its negligent care caused her death. Lincolnshire moved to compel arbitration. The trial court held that Oliver Sherls had the authority to sign the agreement on his mother’s behalf, but that the agreement is ambiguous because the judge could not determine which “facility” is supposed to be bound to provide care and services. The defendants named in the complaint are Tender Loving Care Management Inc. d/b/a TLC Management, LLC, d/b/a Lincolnshire Health Care Center, Inc., d/b/a Riverview Hospital, and Lincolnshire Health Care Center, Inc. The judge believed it wasn’t clear to which of these entities that the term “Lincolnshire” in the agreement refers.

The Court of Appeals reversed in part, finding based on extrinsic evidence, it’s clear that Oliver and Birdie Sherls understood they were entering into a contract with Lincolnshire Health Care Center. The judges affirmed that Oliver Sherls had authority to enter into the agreement on his mother’s behalf, which also includes the ability to agree to arbitration, and the finding that the agreement is not an unconscionable adhesion contract. The COA remanded for further proceedings in Tender Loving Care Management, Inc., d/b/a TLC Management LLC, et al. v. Randall Sherls, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Birdie Sherls, Deceased,
45A05-1311-CT-562.

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  1. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  4. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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