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Kindred Nursing Centers LP v. Clark

United States Supreme Court
137 S. Ct. 1421 (2017)


Facts

When Beverly Wellner and Janis Clark (plaintiff) moved their loved ones into a Kindred Nursing Centers LP (Kindred) (defendant) nursing home, each held a power of attorney used to complete all the paperwork. Each signed a contract on her relative’s behalf agreeing to arbitrate any disputes arising out of living at Kindred. When both relatives died the following year, Wellner and Clark brought separate lawsuits on behalf of their loved ones, alleging the nursing home provided substandard care resulting in their deaths. Kindred attempted to dismiss the lawsuits on the ground that arbitration precluded them, but the Kentucky courts found both arbitration agreements invalid. Specifically, the Kentucky Supreme Court found that because the state constitution guarantees an inviolate right to a jury trial, a power of attorney must clearly state the agent may deprive the principal of that right to do so. The court concluded that clear-statement rule complied with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) even though it treated entering arbitration agreements differently than other types of contracts. The Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kagan, J.)

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