U.S. Supreme Court justices declined on Monday to review a South Carolina court’s decision refusing to enforce an arbitration clause in a negligence case brought against an assisted living facility.
The South Carolina Supreme Court in March reversed a lower court ruling concerning the enforceability of an arbitration agreement between Ashley River Plantation, an assisted living facility and Thayer Arredondo, the attorney-in-fact under two powers of attorney executed by late resident Hubert Whaley. Arredondo is also the decedent’s daughter. The appeals court ruled that the arbitration agreement was enforceable.
“We hold [that] neither power of attorney gave Arredondo the authority to sign the arbitration agreement. Therefore, we reverse the court of appeals,” South Carolina Supreme Court Justice George James said in court documents.
The Supreme Court denied the certiorari petition submitted by the owner of Ashley River Plantation, Law360 reported. That is, the Court chose not to determine whether the lower court incorrectly decided an important question of law, which should be remedied to prevent confusion in similar cases.
“These and similar maneuvers are exactly the sorts of clever ‘devices’ that this court has condemned in the past,” according to the petition. “It has prohibited ‘unique’ interpretations of contractual language that would not extend to ‘contracts other than arbitration contracts.'”
“These businesses are entitled to — and need to be able to — rely on the agents’ agreements to arbitrate,” the company added.