United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION
MATTER comes before the Court upon Plaintiffs' Motion to
Compel Arbitration, filed May 10, 2018 (Doc.
3). Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and
the applicable law, the Court finds that Plaintiffs'
motion is well-taken and, therefore, is GRANTED. In light of
the Court's disposition of the motion, no reply is
case stems from a wrongful death lawsuit in state court,
filed in the County of San Miguel, Fourth Judicial District
Court, involving the death of Carol Cantrell. See
Doc. 21-1 (state court complaint). Plaintiffs Williamson and
Winchester are members/owners of WW Healthcare, L.L.C. which
does business as Princeton Place, a skilled nursing facility
located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. On May 9, 2018, Plaintiff
Williamson (who is the defendant in the state court action)
filed this independent and separate federal action to compel
arbitration of all matters related to the care and treatment
that Ms. Cantrell received at Princeton Place.
Carol Cantrell resided at Princeton Place, a skilled nursing
facility, from March 4 to March 8, 2016. On May 24, 2014, Ms.
Cantrell designated Josephine Lindsay as her attorney in
fact. On March 5, 2016, Ms. Lindsay signed the
Resident Admission Agreement (“Admission
Agreement”) on Ms. Cantrell's behalf and agreed to
arbitration pursuant to the Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate
Claims (“Arbitration Agreement”) included in the
Admission Agreement. The Arbitration Agreement is contained
within the Resident Admission Agreement that Ms. Lindsay also
executed on Ms. Cantrell's behalf to obtain care for Ms.
Cantrell at Princeton Place
March 8, 2016, Carp; Cantrell died from complications of
untreated diabetes. After Ms. Cantrell's death, Defendant
Marc Grano was appointed as personal representative of her
estate. He, along with Jack Cantrell, Ms. Cantrell's
brother, brought a wrongful death action in the Fourth
Judicial District Court, San Miguel County, New Mexico, suing
Plaintiff Jerry Williamson for Ms. Cantrell's allegedly
wrongful death from a fatal complication of untreated
The Arbitration Agreement and Admission Agreement
The Arbitration Agreement
Arbitration Agreement contains a plain language title that is
prominently displayed in bold, underlined, and all capital
letters, which reads “MUTUAL AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE
CLAIMS.” The Arbitration Agreement then states in part:
It is understood and agreed by Princeton Place (the
“Facility) and Cantrell, Carol (“Resident or
Resident's Authorized Representative) . . . that any
legal dispute, controversy, demand or claim . . . that arises
out of or relates to the Resident Admission Agreement or any
service or health care provided by the Facility to the
Resident, shall be resolved exclusively by binding
arbitration . . . in accordance with the American Health
Lawyers Association (“AHLA”) Alternative Dispute
Resolution Services Rules of Procedure which are hereby
incorporated into this agreement . . . .
2 at 1. The Arbitration Agreement further states, in bold
The parties understand and agree that by entering this
Arbitration Agreement they are giving up and waiving their
constitutional right to have any claim decided in a court of
law before a judge and a jury.
2 at 2. Just above the signature line, the Arbitration
Agreement contains the following acknowledgements:
The Resident understands that (1) he/she has the right to
seek legal counsel concerning this agreement, (2) the
execution of this Arbitration is not a precondition to the
furnishing of services to the Resident by the Facility, and
this Arbitration Agreement may be rescinded by written notice
to the Facility from the Resident within 30 days of
signature. If not rescinded within 30 days, this Arbitration
Agreement shall remain in effect for all care and services
subsequently rendered at the Facility, even if such care and
services are rendered following the Resident's discharge
and readmission to the Facility.
2 at 2. Plaintiffs state that neither Ms. Cantrell nor her
power of attorney rescinded their consent to the Arbitration
Agreement, and Defendants do not dispute this.
Arbitration Agreement contains language defining
“Facility” and identifying who is bound by the
agreement, which in turn defines who may seek to enforce the
Arbitration Agreement. It defines Facility as:
the Facility, and its parent company or companies, its
management company or companies, its subsidiary and
affiliated entities . . . fiduciaries, administrators,
affiliates and agents, employees, and any successors and
assigns of any of them.
2 at 1. Second, the Arbitration Agreement binds:
the parties, their successors and assigns, including the
agents, employees and servants of the Facility, . . . and all
persons who claim they derived through or on behalf of
Resident, including that of any . . . executor,
administrator, legal representative, or heir of the Resident.
2 at 1. Third, the Arbitration Agreement includes broad
language regarding its scope:
This agreement to arbitrate includes, but is not limited to,
any claim for . . . breach of contract, fraud or
misrepresentation, negligence, gross negligence, malpractice,
or any other claim based on any departure from accepted
standards of medical or health care or safety whether
sounding in tort or in contract.
2 at 1.