Fla. high court sides with resident on enforcing unsigned contract
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.