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Florida First DCA rules that corporate defendant was “affiliate” of nursing home entitled to invoke delegation clause in nursing home arbitration agreement

On July 9, 2019, in Odum v. LP Graceville, LLC, No. 1D18-4823, the Florida First DCA affirmed a trial court order compelling arbitration based on a delegation clause in a nursing home arbitration agreement. The defendant in the lawsuit allegedly was the corporate owner of the nursing home.  When the defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration based on the arbitration agreement signed by the nursing home resident, the plaintiff argued that the defendant had no right to invoke the agreement because the defendant was not an actual signatory to the agreement (it was executed only by an unnamed nursing home representative).  The trial court rejected this argument.  On appeal, the First DCA rejected it as well, noting that the agreement explicitly included “all affiliates, parents, officers, owners, members, agents, successors and assigns” of the nursing home. The First DCA additionally noted that the plaintiff had never argued before the trial court that the defendant was not an affiliate of the nursing home, and since the argument was not made, the trial court did not err in granting the motion to compel arbitration without making that determination itself.