Escareno v. Kindred Nursing Centers West, LLC, 731 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 41 (App. Div. II, January 26, 2016) (J. Vasquez)
TO ESTABLISH AGENCY IT MUST BE PROVEN THE PRINCIPAL HAS MANIFEST ASSENT TO THE EXISTENCE OF AGENCY RELATIONSHIP
Plaintiff's decedent mother died in defendant's nursing home. When plaintiff had placed mom, she was incapacitated so he signed the nursing home contract and an alternative dispute resolution [ADR]agreement for her. After her death plaintiff sued defendant under the Adult Protective Services Act. The trial court ruled the matter was subject to arbitration under the ADR agreement. The Arizona Court of Appeals reversed and remanded finding the plaintiff did not have authority to bind his mother to the terms of the ADR agreement.
Despite evidence that plaintiff's mother had become unable to care for herself years before being admitted to Kindred and that plaintiff had cared for all her needs, took care of her finances and signed numerous documents in different settings on her behalf, plaintiff was not his mother's agent and could not bind her to the ADR agreement. There was no evidence that mom has affirmatively made him her agent and she could not do so when she was incapacitated in any event.
To establish the existence of agency it must be shown that the principal has led others to believe the person in question is the principal's agent (apparent agency) or has affirmatively confirmed that the person in question is in fact the principal's agent (actual agency). “[A] pattern of care-giving alone is insufficient to create an agency relationship, particularly in the absence of any evidence showing a manifestation of assent on the part of the elderly person.”