Fla. high court sides with res­i­dent on en­forc­ing un­signed con­tract

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Erica Te­ichert

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled a pa­tient couldn’t be forced to ar­bi­trate dis­putes with the nurs­ing home he re­sides in be­cause he didn’t sign the un­der­ly­ing con­tract.

Juan Men­dez Sr. and his son sued Hampton Court Nurs­ing Cen­ter in Mi­ami af­ter he de­vel­oped an eye in­fec­tion while at the nurs­ing home in 2011. The in­fec­tion re­quired re­moval of his left eye. Men­dez’s son signed the con­tract with the nurs­ing home, but the Supreme Court said there was no ev­i­dence Men­dez au­tho­rized him to do so.

“We would never en­force an ad­mis­sion agree­ment if a nurs­ing home ob­tained a res­i­dent’s sig­na­ture by threat­en­ing the vi­o­lent destruction of the res­i­dent’s prop­erty un­less the res­i­dent signed the agree­ment,” the ma­jor­ity wrote in a 5-2 opin­ion.

Ac­cord­ing to the jus­tices, in­di­vid­u­als who don’t per­son­ally sign a con­tract can en­force the agree­ment against peo­ple or in­di­vid­u­als who did, but they can’t in turn be forced to com­ply with the terms.

The Men­dez es­tate did not sue to en­force the nurs­ing home con­tract; rather, they sued over neg­li­gence and statu­tory vi­o­la­tions, ac­cord­ing to the opin­ion.

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