Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dalon v. MS Hud Ocean Springs LLC

Supreme Court of Mississippi

September 12, 2019

EMILE DALON, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AS WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARY OF CAROL ANN DALON, DECEASED AND THE ESTATE OF CAROL ANN DALON
v.
MS HUD OCEAN SPRINGS LLC d/b/a OCEAN SPRINGS HEALTH AND REHABILITATION CENTER, INCORRECTLY NAMED AS GULF COAST HEALTH CARE OF DELAWARE, LLC a/k/a GULF COAST HEALTH CARE LLC, AND LINDA COSIO

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/02/2018

          JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. KATHY KING JACKSON JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: DOUGLAS LAMONT TYNES, JR. COURTNEY PARKER WILSON

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: LYNDA CLOWER CARTER ASHLEY W. GUNN

          BEFORE KITCHENS, P.J., BEAM AND ISHEE, JJ.

          ISHEE, JUSTICE

         ¶1. This is a nursing-home negligence case concerning the death of Carol Dalon at Ocean Springs Health and Rehabilitation Center (OSHRC). Carol's son Emile Dalon, who is the administrator of her estate and a wrongful-death beneficiary, filed suit in the Jackson County Circuit Court, alleging that OSHRC and its employees negligently caused Carol's death. The circuit court granted the defendants' motion to compel arbitration, and Emile appeals.

         FACTS

         ¶2. Carol was transferred from another nursing home to OSHRC on June 2, 2011, after sustaining injuries. At the time she was admitted, Carol had a history of dementia, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and delirium, along with other conditions affecting her communication skills, daily tasks, and decisionmaking capacity.

         ¶3. OSHRC's admission agreement, which included an arbitration agreement, was signed by Emile. Carol had previously granted Emile a General Durable Power of Attorney (General POA) and a Power of Attorney for Health Care (Health Care POA), both of which were in effect when Emile signed the admission agreement on Carol's behalf.

         ¶4. It was alleged that in late May or early June of 2015, Carol fell and suffered a broken leg. She died about a month after her injury was discovered. Emile and Carol's estate then brought suit, alleging negligence and wrongful death. The defendants moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, to stay proceedings and compel arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion to dismiss but granted the motion to stay proceedings and compel arbitration. Emile and the estate now appeal, arguing Emile had no authority to submit his mother's claims to arbitration.

         DISCUSSION

         ¶5. The sole issue before this Court is whether the circuit court erred by granting the motion to compel arbitration. Emile argues three points: (1) he lacked authority to execute the arbitration agreement, (2) arbitration is unconscionable, and (3) the chosen forum is not available.

         1. Arbitration Generally

         ¶6. Mississippi will "liberally construe agreements with a presumption in favor of arbitration." Qualcomm Inc. v. Am. Wireless License Grp., LLC, 980 So.2d 261, 269 (Miss. 2007) (citing Terminix Int'l, Inc. v. Rice, 904 So.2d 1051, 1054 (Miss. 2004)). "Under the Federal Arbitration Act, the Court employs a two-part test: (1) 'whether the parties intended to arbitrate the dispute,' and (2) 'whether legal constraints external to the parties' agreement foreclosed the arbitration of those claims.'" Harrison Cty. Commercial Lot, LLC v. H. Gordon Myrick, Inc., 107 So.3d 943, 949 (Miss. 2013) (quoting Scruggs v. Wyatt, 60 So.3d 758, 766 (Miss. 2011)). For the reasons explained below, this Court finds that both parties intended to arbitrate and that no external legal constraints foreclosed arbitration.

         2. Emile's Authority

         ¶7. Arbitration agreements are contracts and are governed as such. Scruggs, 60 So.3d at 767. "The elements of a contract are '(1) two or more contracting parties, (2) consideration, (3) an agreement that is sufficiently definite, (4) parties with legal capacity to make a contract, (5) mutual assent, and (6) no legal prohibition precluding contract formation.'" Adams Cmty. Care Ctr., LLC v. Reed, 37 So.3d 1155, 1158 (Miss. 2010) (quoting Grenada Living Ctr., LLC v. Coleman, 961 So.2d 33, 37 (Miss. 2007)). Emile argues that the legal-capacity element is missing here because he lacked the authority to execute the agreement on Carol's behalf. We find this argument meritless because, at the time the arbitration agreement was signed, Emile had both a General POA and a Healthcare POA over Carol.

         ¶8. Additionally, Emile argues that he had neither express nor apparent authority to sign the arbitration agreement on Carol's behalf. But we find that the General POA and Healthcare POA gave ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.