Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

STV One Nineteen Senior Living, LLC v. Boyd

Supreme Court of Alabama

February 16, 2018

STV One Nineteen Senior Living, LLC
v.
Dixie Boyd, by and through Mary Alice Boyd-Kline

         Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court (CV-16-901986)

          SELLERS, Justice.

         STV One Nineteen Senior Living, LLC ("STV"), appeals from an order of the Jefferson Circuit Court denying STV's motion to compel arbitration of certain counterclaims filed against it by Dixie Boyd, by and through her agent, Mary Alice Boyd-Kline, under a valid power of attorney. We reverse and remand.

         Facts

On December 26, 2013, Dixie Boyd and Mary-Alice Boyd-Kline, as holder of Boyd's power of attorney, signed a "residency agreement" with STV, which operated an assisted-living facility, in which STV agreed to provide Dixie Boyd with a private apartment and other related services, including, among other things, utilities, housekeeping, laundry, meals, maintenance, planned activities, transportation, and security and protection. The residency agreement contained the following arbitration clause:

"[STV] and [Boyd] agree that [STV] is engaged in interstate commerce and that, except for claims, disputes or controversies relating to unpaid Monthly Fees or the right to possession of the Apartment, any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this Agreement, or the breach thereof, shall be settled by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association under its Commercial Arbitration Rules ...."

(Emphasis added.)

         Boyd resided at STV's facility from December 26, 2013, through March 18, 2016. On May 28, 2016, STV filed a collection action against Boyd, seeking to recover $10, 475.28 in unpaid rent, plus statutorily stated interest, late fees, attorney fees, and court costs. On July 5, 2016, Boyd and Mary Alice Boyd-Kline (hereinafter referred to collectively as "Boyd") filed counterclaims against STV and fictitiously named defendants, alleging negligence, wantonness, negligent supervision and training, premises liability, and breach of contract. The counterclaims were based on the following allegation:

"On or about February 28, 2016, STV failed to sufficiently supervise certain residents of STV, such that two residents engaged in a physical altercation. Said altercation resulted in [Dixie] Boyd, who was not involved, being knocked to the floor by one of the residents, striking [Dixie] Boyd's head on a sharp edged coat rack."

         On September 15, 2016, STV filed a motion to compel arbitration of Boyd's counterclaims, a copy of the residency agreement, and a supporting brief. Boyd thereafter filed amended counterclaims, deleting her breach-of-contract claim. On December 2, 2016, Boyd filed a motion in opposition to STV's motion to compel arbitration, arguing that her counterclaims, as amended, encompassed only tort claims and that those claims did not fall within the scope of the arbitration agreement.

         On December 7, 2016, the trial court conducted a hearing at which the parties argued only the issue whether Boyd's counterclaims fell within the scope of the arbitration agreement. Boyd presented no argument or evidence concerning whether the transaction underlying the residency agreement involved interstate commerce. Following the hearing, Boyd moved the trial court to dismiss the motion to compel or, alternatively, to allow her additional time in which to acquire additional proof of her newly submitted defense, i.e., that the residency agreement containing the arbitration provision was a contract of adhesion and was thus unenforceable. On December 15, 2016, the trial court granted Boyd's motion in part, stating that it would consider the submissions received to that date from all parties and that STV would have seven days in which to file a response to Boyd's most recent amended submission.[1]

         On January 11, 2017, the trial court entered an order, denying STV's motion to compel arbitration without stating its reasons for doing so. STV filed, pursuant to Rule 59(e), Ala. R. Civ. P., a motion to alter or amend the order, in which it restated the facts and its arguments. STV also attached to its motion the affidavit of its agent, Brian Parker, who stated in detail the reasons the residency agreement evidenced a transaction involving interstate commerce. STV's Rule 59(e) motion was denied by operation of law. This appeal followed. We note that this appeal has been submitted to this Court solely on STV's brief; Boyd has not favored this Court with an appellee's brief.

         Standard of Review

"This Court's standard of review on an appeal from a trial court's order granting or denying a motion to compel arbitration is well settled. Bowen v. Security Pest Control, Inc., 879 So.2d 1139, 1141 (Ala. 2003). A direct appeal is the proper procedure by which to seek review of such an order, Rule 4(d), Ala. R. App. P., and this Court will review de novo the trial court's grant or denial of a motion to compel arbitration. Bowen, 879 So.2d at 1141. The party seeking to compel arbitration has the initial burden of proving the existence of a contract calling for arbitration and proving that the contract evidences a transaction involving interstate commerce. Polaris Sales, Inc. v. Heritage Imports, Inc., 879 So.2d 1129, 1132 (Ala. 2003). The party seeking to compel arbitration must present some evidence tending to establish its claim. Wolff Motor Co. v. White, 869 So.2d 1129, 1131 (Ala. 2003). Once the moving party meets that initial burden, the party opposing arbitration has the burden of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.