United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. PAPPERT, J.
Simmons filed this lawsuit in his own right and as the
administrator of his mother Ola's estate. He alleges that
Ola Simmons moved into Simpson House Nursing Home because she
was suffering from senile psychosis and episodic
incontinence. During her five-month stay, she developed
pressure sores, experienced excessive weight loss and
contracted multiple infections. Ola was transferred to
Prime-Roxborough Hospital where her condition continued to
decline. After less than a month at Prime-Roxborough, she
moved to Kindred Hospital and died roughly two months later
while in hospice care.
Simmons asserts claims of negligence, wrongful death and
survival, and violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade
Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”)
against Simpson House and Simpson House, Inc. (“Simpson
House”), Prime Healthcare Services-Roxborough, LLC
(“Prime-Roxborough”) and Kindred Hospital-South
Philadelphia and Kindred Healthcare Inc.
filed a motion to dismiss Simmons's claims and enforce an
arbitration agreement. (ECF No. 82.) The Court grants the
motion with respect to claims brought on behalf of Ola
Simmons, but denies the motion with respect to John
Simmons's wrongful death claim.
Simmons filed his Second Amended Complaint on July 28, 2016.
(ECF No. 45.) All Defendants filed motions to dismiss the
Second Amended Complaint. Kindred's motion contended that
Simmons's claims should be dismissed because Ola, through
her legal guardian, agreed to arbitrate any dispute between
her and Kindred. (ECF No. 55.) The Court denied Kindred's
motion without prejudice and ordered limited discovery on the
question of arbitrability. (ECF No. 67, at n.1.)
Kindred's renewed motion to dismiss is before the Court.
(ECF No. 82.)
case's factual background is detailed in a prior opinion.
See Simmons v. Simpson House, Inc., ___ F.Supp.3d
___, No. 15-06636, 2016 WL 7209931, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 12,
7, 2014, Ola's court-appointed guardian, Yvette Rogers,
signed Kindred's admissions paperwork. (Def.'s
Statement of Facts ¶ 3, ECF No. 82 (hereinafter
“SOF”).) The papers included an Alternative
Dispute Resolution Agreement (“the Agreement”).
(Def.'s Mot., Ex. B, ECF No. 82-5, at 5, hereinafter
“ADR”.) Rogers, a licensed attorney, had full
authority to act on Ola's behalf. (SOF ¶ 9;
Def.'s Mot., Ex. D., ECF No. 82-7.) By signing the
Agreement, Rogers-and therefore Ola-agreed to resolve
“any and all disputes that might arise between the
Patient and the Hospital through alternative
dispute resolution methods, including mediation and
arbitration.” (ADR, at 1.) John Simmons did not sign
the Agreement. (ADR, at 5.)
deposed, Simmons acknowledged that Rogers was Ola's
court-appointed guardian, possessing full legal authority to
make decisions on Ola's behalf. (Simmons Dep., at
20:9-12; 34:6-9, ECF No. 82-6.) Simmons explained that Rogers
was appointed Ola's guardian in 2011 or 2012 after a
hearing where the court “assumed that [Ola] wasn't
being properly taken care of and that her funds [were] being
misused by another relative. So, they appointed her as the
guardian.” (Id. at 7:5-8:3.)
it is apparent, based on the face of the complaint, and
documents relied upon in the complaint, that certain of a
party's claims are subject to an enforceable arbitration
clause, a motion to compel arbitration should be considered
under a Rule 12(b)(6) standard without discovery's
delay.” Guidotti v. Legal Helpers Debt
Resolution, 716 F.3d 764, 776 (3d Cir. 2013) (quotation
and citation omitted). However, “if the complaint and
its supporting documents are unclear regarding the agreement
to arbitrate, or if the plaintiff has responded to a motion
to compel arbitration with additional facts sufficient to
place the agreement to arbitrate in issue, then the parties
should be entitled to discovery on the question of
arbitrability before a court entertains further briefing on
the question.” Id. (quotation and citation
Court held it was “not clear based on the face of the
complaint and documents relied upon in the complaint that
Simmons's claims [were] subject to an enforceable
arbitration clause.” (ECF No. 67, at n.1.) Accordingly,
the Court ordered limited discovery. (Id.) Limited
discovery on the question of arbitrability is complete;
Kindred's renewed motion to compel arbitration is now
properly reviewed under the summary judgment standard.
See Guidotti, 716 F.3d at 776.
judgment is proper if there is no genuine issue of material
fact and if, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party, the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Smathers v. Multi-Tool,
Inc./Multi-Plastics, Inc. Emp. Health & Welfare
Plan, 298 F.3d 191, 194 (3d Cir. 2002); see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A genuine issue of material
fact exists when “a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A mere
scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party will
not suffice; there must be evidence by which a jury could
reasonably find for the non-moving party. Id. at
252. Summary judgment is appropriate where “the
nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an
essential element of her case with respect to which she has
the burden of proof.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
reviewing the record, a court “must view the facts in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all
inferences in that party's favor.” Prowel v.
Wise Bus. Forms, 579 F.3d 285, 286 (3d Cir. 2009). The
court may not, however, make credibility determinations or
weigh the evidence in considering motions for summary
judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing ...