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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. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  2. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

  3. wow is this a bunch of bs! i know the facts!

  4. MCBA .... time for a new release about your entire membership (or is it just the alter ego) being "saddened and disappointed" in the failure to lynch a police officer protecting himself in the line of duty. But this time against Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation: "WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/justice-department-ferguson-civil-rights-darren-wilson.html?ref=us&_r=0

  5. Dr wail asfour lives 3 hours from the hospital,where if he gets an emergency at least he needs three hours,while even if he is on call he should be in a location where it gives him max 10 minutes to be beside the patient,they get paid double on their on call days ,where look how they handle it,so if the death of the patient occurs on weekend and these doctors still repeat same pattern such issue should be raised,they should be closer to the patient.on other hand if all the death occured on the absence of the Dr and the nurses handle it,the nurses should get trained how to function appearntly they not that good,if the Dr lives 3 hours far from the hospital on his call days he should sleep in the hospital

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