Choose a Topic

View Our Case Results
Kelley/Uustal Practice Areas

Juan Mendez, Jr. v. Hampton Court Nursing Center, LLC, Case 3D13-1855 (3rd DCA)

In Mendez, the Third DCA affirmed the trial court’s order compelling arbitration of a claim filed by Mendez, as guardian on behalf of his father, relating to alleged negligence by the nursing home defendant. Mendez’s father was admitted to a nursing facility which required execution of an agreement containing a broad arbitration clause. Mendez signed the agreement on a signature line indicating “signature of resident’s representative.” Mendez argued that the arbitration clause was not binding upon his father, who was not a party to the agreement.

Noting that courts generally favor arbitration, the Third DCA found that “arbitration clauses in contracts are binding on third party beneficiaries.” “This is true even if the third-party beneficiary did not sign the contract containing the arbitration agreement: a nonsignatory in an arbitration agreement may be bound to arbitrate if the nonsignatory has received something more than an incidental or consequential benefit of the contract, or if the nonsignatory is specifically the intended third-party beneficiary of the contract.” The Third DCA noted that Mendez’s father was not merely the incidental beneficiary of the agreement, but instead was the intended third-party beneficiary of the agreement. The court acknowledges that there are appellate decisions which conclude that nursing home residents who are nonsignatories to the care agreements under which they receive care are not bound by arbitration clauses in those agreements, including the Fourth DCA’s decision in Lepisto v. Senior Lifestyle Newport Limited Partnership, 78 So. 3d 89 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). The Third DCA determined that it cannot agree with those decisions, because it cannot reconcile those decisions with the law on third-party beneficiaries and Florida’s public policy favoring arbitration.

The Third DCA therefore concluded: “parties are free to enter into contracts as they see fit; arbitration clauses are favored; and parties are held to have read contracts that they sign.”

Categories:

Recognized as One of the Nation's Best Law Firms

Don't just take our word for it. See it for yourself.

Client Reviews & Testimonials
  • AV Peer Review Rated
  • Florida Super Lawyers
  • South Florida Top Rated Lawyers
  • Best Law Firms
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • The National Trial Lawyers - Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • South Florida Business Journal - 2017  Best Places to Work
  • Sun Sentinel - 2017 Top Work Places
© 2014 All Rights Reserved The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.