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Court of Appeals Grants Estate’s Motion to Compel Arbitration

By Jack H. FarnbauchSeptember 29, 2020

After concluding the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act doesn’t apply, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of an estate’s Motion to Compel Arbitration against a nursing facility. Sandra King was a resident at Aperion Care Tolleston Park in Gary, Indiana, at the end of her life. King signed an arbitration agreement with Aperion, at the time of her admission, which stated all claims against the facility were to be resolved exclusively by arbitration.

King developed several ailments while living at Aperion, prior to her death. King’s estate filed a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance alleging malpractice and specifically cited the nursing care received while she was a resident at Aperion.

After learning of the signed arbitration agreement, King’s estate filed a motion to compel arbitration, but the trial court denied the motion because the claims “must first proceed through the review process set forth in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.”

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed that decision because it agreed with the estate that the trial court’s decision was wrong.

The appellate court agreed that the Medical Malpractice Act did not apply in this case because of the signed Arbitration Agreement. The appellate court noted that the parties could have agreed as a conditional precedent to arbitration that the arbitration of any issue falling under the Act must be presented to a review panel prior to being submitted to arbitration, but no such condition precedent was contained in the arbitration agreement.

The matter was remanded to the Lake Superior Court.

You can read more here.