Appeal from the Circuit Court of the Estate of Charles Curto, Tazewell County, Illinois, Honorable Michael E. Brandt, Judge, Presiding. No. 09--L--116
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Lytton
JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justices O'Brien and Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Plaintiff, Marilee Curto, filed a complaint against defendant, Illini Manors, Inc., and Pekin Manors (Pekin Manors),*fn1 under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (Nursing Home Care Act) (210 ILCS 45/1-101 et seq. (West 2008)) for personal injuries her husband suffered while a resident at Pekin Manors and his wrongful death. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint and compel arbitration.
The trial court denied the motion, and we affirm.
On August 9, 2007, Marilee entered into a contract with Pekin Manors, a residential nursing home, to admit and care for her husband, Charles. The contract named Charles as the resident and Marilee as the "Guardian/Responsible Party." Marilee signed the form on the preprinted signature line which designated her as the "Legal Representative." Charles did not sign the contract.
The parties also entered into a separate arbitration agreement, which provided that "any and all disputes arising hereunder shall be submitted to binding arbitration and not to a court for determination." In the arbitration agreement, each party waived its right to a trial by jury. Marilee signed the arbitration agreement above the line that stated "Signature of Resident Representative." Charles did not sign the arbitration agreement.
On August 13, 2009, Marilee filed a complaint against Pekin Manors pursuant to the Nursing Home Care Act for personal injuries Charles sustained while he was a resident. The complaint also sought damages suffered by Charles' next of kin under the Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1 et seq. (West 2008)). It further alleged that Charles suffered pain and anguish, which subjected defendant to liability under the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6 (West 2008)), and that his heirs incurred expenses, which they were entitled to recover under the Rights of Married Persons Act (Family Expense Act) (750 ILCS 65/15 (West 2008)).
Pekin Manors filed a motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration, asserting that the estate was contractually bound by the arbitration agreement Marilee signed when Charles was admitted. After a thorough examination of authority supporting both positions, the trial judge denied the motion. The judge found that "the spouse is not an agent for the other spouse for purposes of an agreement to arbitrate." He concluded that the arbitration agreement was not valid and enforceable because there was no indication that Marilee had the authority to bind Charles to the mandatory arbitration terms of the contract.
Initially, the parties dispute the standard of review. Generally, the issue we are asked to consider on an interlocutory appeal is whether there was a sufficient showing to sustain the order of the trial court granting or denying the relief sought. Onni v. Apartment Investment & Management Co., 344 Ill. App. 3d 1099 (2003). However, where the trial court does not make any factual findings, or the underlying facts are not in dispute and the court's decision is based on a purely legal analysis, we review the trial court's denial of a motion to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration de novo. La Hood v. Central Illinois Construction, Inc., 335 Ill. App. 3d 363 (2002). Here, the trial court based its decision on the undisputed facts in the record.
Thus, our review of the issue is de novo. See La Hood, 335 ...