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Richmond Health Facilities -- Kenwood, LP v. Nichols

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 15, 2016

RICHMOND HEALTH FACILITIES -- KENWOOD, LP; PREFERRED CARE PARTNERS MANAGEMENT GROUP, LP; PREFERRED CARE, INC.; KENTUCKY PARTNERS MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
ADRIANNE NICHOLS, Executor of the Estate of Charlie Nichols, Defendant-Appellee

Argued October 6, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Lexington. No. 5:14-cv-00141--Danny C. Reeves, District Judge.

ARGUED:

Marcia L. Pearson, WILSON ELSER MOSKOWITZ EDELMAN & DICKER LLP, Louisville, Kentucky, for Appellants.

Robert E. Salyer, WILKES & MCHUGH, P.A., Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Marcia L. Pearson, Edward M. O'Brien, WILSON ELSER MOSKOWITZ EDELMAN & DICKER LLP, Louisville, Kentucky, for Appellants.

Robert E. Salyer, WILKES & MCHUGH, P.A., Lexington, Kentucky, for Appellee.

Before: KEITH, ROGERS, and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 193

DAMON J. KEITH, Circuit Judge.

Charlie Nichols was admitted to a nursing and rehabilitation facility, now operated by Plaintiffs, and subsequently passed away. The executrix of his estate, Adrianne Nichols (" Defendant" ), sued Plaintiffs in state court, asserting various Kentucky state-law claims, including wrongful death. Plaintiffs filed suit in federal court to compel arbitration of these claims under an Arbitration Agreement (or, " Agreement" ) Mr. Nichols had entered into with the facility. The facility and the decedent, Mr. Nichols, were the only signatories to the Agreement. The federal district court denied the motion to compel

Page 194

arbitration of the wrongful-death claim, granted the motion with respect to other claims, and stayed the case until arbitration of those claims was complete. Plaintiffs appeal the denial of the motion to compel arbitration of the wrongful-death claim. For the reasons set forth below, we AFFIRM the district court's decision.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs set forth the following allegations in the Complaint:

On October 14, 2011, Mr. Nichols was admitted to the Kenwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center ("Center"), a nursing facility in Richmond, Kentucky. R. 1, ¶ 12. Upon admission, Mr. Nichols entered into the Agreement with the Center. Id. ¶ 13. In relevant part, the Agreement states the following:

o It applies to " any and all disputes arising out of or in any way relating to this Agreement" including " wrongful death." Id. ¶ 14.
o It is governed by " The Kentucky Uniform Arbitration Act. . . . If for any reason there is a finding that Kentucky law cannot support the enforcement of this Agreement, then the Parties agree to resolve their disputes by arbitration . . . pursuant to the [FAA]." Id. ¶ 19.
o It binds Charlie Nichols and all persons with claims through or on behalf of him, including " any personal representative, responsible party, guardian, executor, administrator, legal representative, agent or heir." Id. ¶ 15.

On June 22, 2012, Mr. Nichols filed a lawsuit in Madison Circuit Court (" State Court Action" ) concerning the care provided by the Center. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiffs were not named as parties to that State Court Action. Id. Plaintiffs took over the Center on July 1, 2012. Id. ¶ 24. Mr. Nichols passed away on October 28, 2012. Id. ¶ 25. Defendant was named as administratrix of his estate. Id. On February 6, 2014, Defendant filed an amended complaint in the state court, asserting several claims against Plaintiffs, including wrongful death. Id. But on April 11, 2014, four defendants in the lawsuit pending in Kentucky state court--Plaintiffs here[1]--filed this action in federal court to compel arbitration under the FAA, and to enjoin the State Court Action. Id.

Plaintiffs moved to compel arbitration of all claims pursuant to the Agreement. R. 11. Defendant argued that, under Ping v. Beverly Enterprises, Inc., 376 S.W.3d 581 (Ky. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S.Ct. 1996, 185 L.Ed.2d 879 (2013), arbitration of the wrongful-death claim is not required. R. 12. In response, Plaintiffs argued, among other things, that the portion of Ping relevant to this case is preempted by the FAA. R.14. On December 19, 2014, the district court ruled that Ping was not preempted, and denied the motion to compel arbitration of the wrongful-death claim. The court otherwise granted the motion with respect to the other claims. R. 15. The district court further stayed the case until arbitration of those claims was complete. Id. Plaintiffs timely appealed the denial on January 15, 2015. R. 16.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

We review a district court's ruling on a motion to compel arbitration de novo.

Page 195

Stout v. J.D. Byrider, 228 F.3d 709, 714 (6th Cir. 2000); see also M& C Corp. v. Erwin Behr GMBH & Co., 143 F.3d 1033, 1037 (6th Cir. 1998) (" A determination of the arbitrability of a ...


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