Hutcheson v. Eskaton Fountainwood Lodge

Committing a senile elderly person to a residential care facility is a “health care” decision, so only a person holding a health care power of attorney may make that decision for the elder; as a result, a facility’s arbitration agreement signed by an agent with only a regular power of attorney was not binding.  California statutes provide for two different types of powers of attorney:  a power of attorney under the Power of Attorneys Law (Prob. Code 4000 et seq.) and a health care power of attorney under the Health Care Decisions Law (Prob. Code 4600 et seq.).  The former can permit the agent to make “personal care” decisions, while the latter can allow the agent to make “health care” decisions.  This opinion holds that committing a senile elderly person to a residential care facility for the elderly capable of dealing with a senior suffering from dementia is a “health care” decision so that only a person holding a power of attorney under the Health Care Decisions Law may make that decision for the elder.  Accordingly an admission agreement including an arbitration clause signed by one holding only a power of attorney under the Power of Attorney Law was unenforceable.

California Court of Appeal, Third District (Nicholson, Acting P.J.); June 14, 2017; 2017 WL 2570672

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