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Laizure v. Avante at Leesburg, Inc.
Florida Supreme Court
109 So. 3d 752 (2013)
Harry Lee Stewart signed an arbitration agreement after he was admitted to the nursing home Avante at Leesburg (AVL) (defendant). Several days later, Stewart died as a result of AVL’s negligence. Debra Laizure (plaintiff) filed suit against AVL on the ground that it deprived Stewart of his nursing-home residents’ rights codified in the Florida Nursing Home Residents’ Rights Act, and she pursued wrongful-death damages under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. AVL filed a motion to compel arbitration based on the agreement Stewart had signed, which covered all future tort claims relating to Stewart’s stay at AVL brought by Stewart or his heirs. The trial court granted the motion. Laizure appealed, arguing that the arbitration agreement Stewart signed could not apply to wrongful-death suits because the wrongful-death claim did not belong to Stewart. The court of appeals concluded that Laizure was bound by the arbitration agreement but recognized that the issue of whether a nursing-home arbitration agreement is binding on his estate and heirs in a wrongful-death action was one of first impression in Florida, and the court of appeals certified the question to the Florida Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pariente, J.)
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