California Court of Appeal Affirm Trial Court’s Denial to Compel Arbitration in Garcia v. KND Development 52
A big achievement for Plaintiff Attorneys Adam Kocaj and Samer Habbas.
SUPERIOR COURT, Los Angeles, Calif. — Attorneys Adam Kocaj and Samer Habbas of the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates were able to prevail on behalf of their clients in a matter on appeal before the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Garcia v. KND Development 52.
The elder abuse and wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the decedent patient of a long term care facility and the decedent’s heirs against the defendant nursing facility in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that the defendant facility’s negligence caused the loss of the now-deceased patient. The defendant’s long-term care medical facility responded to the lawsuit by filing a petition with the trial court seeking to dismiss the lawsuit out of the public court system and away from a potential jury trial and to instead compel the parties into a private arbitration forum. The defendant alleged that arbitration was the sole remedy for the family to seek redress on behalf of themselves and their deceased loved one because while the decedent was admitted as a patient at the defendant’s facility, the patient’s wife and son signed an arbitration agreement on the patient’s behalf wherein the patient would agree to voluntarily waive his right to a jury trial in the event he was harmed by defendant’s negligence.
The trial court denied the defendant’s petition to compel arbitration and found that, despite the fact that the decedent’s wife and son signed arbitration agreements on the decedent’s behalf after he was admitted to the Defendant’s long term care facility, the Defendant failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove that the wife and son in fact had ostensible authority from the patient to sign those arbitration agreements on the patient’s behalf.
The Defendant’s appealed the trial court’s denial of their petition to compel arbitration to the 2nd District Court of Appeals for the State of California. On appeal, the defendant-appellants contended that the trial court’s denial of its petition to compel arbitration was in direct contravention of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and should be reversed. The Court of Appeal disagreed with the appellant’s argument and affirmed the trial court’s ruling, holding that substantial evidence supported the trial court’s conclusion that appellants failed to meet their burden to establish the existence of an enforceable arbitration agreement. The court relied on generally applicable law conditioning the validity of an arbitration agreement executed by a purported agent — like any other contract executed by a purported agent — on an adequate evidentiary showing that the agreement falls within the scope of authority, if any, conferred by the principal. Furthermore, the court did not apply this law in a fashion disfavoring arbitration contracts, and thus did not violate the Federal Arbitration Act.
This ruling will ensure that Samer Habbas & Associates clients, in this case, won’t lose their constitutional right to have a trial by jury in seeking redress for the death of their beloved father/husband.
About Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates:
With 30 years of experience in helping personal injury victims, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates use their extensive knowledge to serve the best interests of their clients. The firm focuses its practice on providing injured clients with the justice that they deserve after suffering serious injuries resulting from the negligence and recklessness of another party. With multiple offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego and Riverside, the law firm has obtained results for their clients that go beyond expectations; achieving over $200 million in cases thus far. Visit www.habbaspilaw.com or call 949-727-9300 for more information.
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