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Kallas v. Manor Care of Barberton, OH, LLC

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

January 11, 2017

KIMBERLY KALLAS Appellee
v.
MANOR CARE OF BARBERTON, OH, LLC DBA MANORCARE HEALTH SERVICES - BARBERTON, et al. Appellants

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV 2015 08 3959

          DANNY M. NEWMAN, JR. and MICHAEL M. MAHON, Attorneys at Law, for Appellant.

          LAWRENCE R. BACH and TODD A. MAZZOLA, Attorneys at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          BETH WHITMORE, JUDGE

         {¶1} Appellants, Manor Care of Barberton OH, LLC d/b/a ManorCare Health Services-Barberton ("ManorCare Barberton") and HCR ManorCare, Inc. ("HCR ManorCare") (jointly "ManorCare"), appeal the decision of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas denying their motion to stay proceedings pending arbitration. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} On June 21, 2013, Kimberly Kallas was admitted to ManorCare Barberton for physical and occupational therapy following treatment at Akron City Hospital. Ms. Kallas, who was born with spina bifida, was 41 years old at the time of her admission to ManorCare Barberton. During her admission, she signed a number of documents including a "Voluntary Arbitration Agreement."

         {¶3} Ms. Kallas, subsequently, filed suit against ManorCare Barberton and HCR ManorCare. Based on the Arbitration Agreement, ManorCare moved to stay the proceedings pending arbitration. Ms. Kallas opposed the motion.

         {¶4} While not denying that she had signed the Agreement, Ms. Kallas argued that the Agreement failed to identify ManorCare Barberton or HCR ManorCare as parties to it. The Agreement states it was "[m]ade on 6/21/13 (date) by and between the Patient Kim Kallas or Patient's Legal Representative self (collectively referred to as 'Patient') and the Center___." The date, Ms. Kallas' name, and the word "self were handwritten on blank lines. The line following "Center" was left blank. The agreement was signed by Kim Kallas and a "Center Representative." The signature block also contained Ms. Kallas' printed name and the date. It did not contain the printed name of the "Center Representative" or further identify the "Center." Ms. Kallas argued that, because the Agreement did not contain "any actual designation of who are the actual parties to the Agreement other than [Ms.] Kallas[, ]" it was unenforceable. She also argued that the Agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable on that basis as well.

         {¶5} The trial court denied the motion to stay proceedings pending arbitration. The court found that the Arbitration Agreement identified Ms. Kallas as a party, but lacked a counterparty. The court concluded that, without the identity of the parties to be bound, the Agreement was unenforceable. The trial court did not reach the issue of unconscionability.

         {¶6} ManorCare Barberton and HCR ManorCare appeal raising one assignment of error.

         II.

         Assignment of Error

         THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT GRANTING DEFENDANT-APPELLANTS' MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS PENDING ARBITRATION WHERE THERE ...


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