Monday, March 14, 2011

Court Reviews Whether a Patient was Competent When He Executed a Power-of-Attorney Document

MARTHA DUKE, As Next of Kin of William Jerry Duke, Deceased, and on behalf of the wrongful death beneficiaries of William Jerry Duke v. KINDRED HEALTHCARE OPERATING, INC., ET AL. (Tenn. Ct. App. March 14, 2011)

This appeal involves an arbitration agreement that was executed when a patient was admitted to a nursing home. The arbitration agreement was signed by the patient's sister, who had presented a power of attorney document to the admissions staff that designated her as the patient's attorney-in-fact. The patient's representative in this lawsuit contends that the patient was incompetent when he executed the power of attorney document, and therefore, the sister lacked authority to sign the arbitration agreement on his behalf. The trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that the patient was incompetent when he signed the document and denied the defendants' motion to compel arbitration. We affirm and remand.

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