Daniels v. Sunrise Senior Living, Inc., (Fourth District, January 4, 2013) 212 Cal.App.4th 674, 151 Cal.Rptr.3d 273, 13 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 250, 2013 Daily Journal D.A.R. 185
A woman whose 93-year-old mother died following her stay at a residential care facility for the elderly filed an action against the owners and operators of the facility, asserting elder abuse and survivor claims as her mother’s successor in interest, and a wrongful death claim on behalf of herself as an individual. The Plaintiff alleged that her mother, who had been suffering from dementia with psychosis, had received inadequate treatment at the facility, resulting in injuries which ultimately led to her death.
The defendants petitioned the trial court to compel arbitration of the claims pursuant to an arbitration clause in a “residency agreement” which had been signed by the plaintiff as her mother’s attorney in fact. Although it had not been signed by the plaintiff in her personal capacity, the agreement nevertheless purported to cover all claims regarding the mother’s care, and to bind all of her heirs and representatives. The trial court denied the petition to arbitrate, finding that as a third party to the arbitration agreement in her capacity as an individual, the plaintiff could not be compelled to arbitrate her wrongful death claim, and that there was a possibility of conflicting rulings on common issues if the survivor claims were arbitrated but not the wrongful death claim. The court of appeal affirmed, holding that there was no basis to infer that the plaintiff had agreed to arbitrate the wrongful death claim: