Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sennett v. National Healthcare Corporation[1]

Opinion handed down, Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, September 24, 2008
Link to Mo. App. Ct. Opinion

Mike Sennett, the son of deceased nursing home patient Edith D. Schmeets, brought a wrongful death action against National Healthcare Corporation, the company that owned the nursing home where his mother died. National Healthcare Corporation sought to compel arbitration against Sennett because his mother had signed an agreement to arbitrate all claims. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, held that because Sennett’s wrongful death action was not derivative of Schmeets’s injury, the arbitration agreement could not bind Sennett. This holding clarified the prior Missouri Supreme Court case of State ex rel. Burns v. Whittington which seemed to imply that a wrongful death action is derivative of the deceased estate’s underlying tort action.