Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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An Illinois driver alleged that she was injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist in Wisconsin in 2007. In Illinois proceedings her insurer, Country Preferred, sought a declaration of noncoverage and she unsuccessfully moved to compel arbitration. Uninsured motorist coverage was part of the policy, but the policy also provided that “any suit, action or arbitration will be barred unless commenced within two years from the date of the accident.” The insurer contended that the driver had not met this requirement, and the circuit court agreed. The appellate court reversed, persuaded by the driver’s theory that public policy was violated by virtue of the fact that the applicable statute of limitations in Wisconsin is three years, unlike Illinois (and the policy), where it is two years. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, noting that the insured never initiated any type of legal action to settle her claim within the policy’s applicable time frame. There is no public policy violation in requiring the insured driver to bring her suit, action, or arbitration request within two years, the same time period as the Illinois statute of limitations, even though the limitation period in Wisconsin, the state where the accident occurred, is longer. View "Country Preferred Ins. Co. v. Whitehead" on Justia Law

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Gott was a resident of Odin Healthcare where she died, on January 31, 2006. Her estate brought a survival action under the Nursing Home Care Act and the Wrongful Death Act, claiming that as a result of violations of the Nursing Home Care Act, Gott sustained gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, and respiratory failure. The wrongful-death claim sought damages for injuries sustained by her heirs. Odin sought to compel arbitration based on agreements signed by Gott and by her “legal representative.” The trial court refused to compel arbitration, viewing the agreement as unenforceable for lack of mutuality and as contrary to public policy. The court held that the wrongful-death claim was not arbitrable and that the Federal Arbitration Act was inapplicable. On remand, the appellate court accepted applicability of the Federal Arbitration Act but still affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed in part. Arbitration can be compelled on Survival Act claims, alleging Nursing Home Care Act violations and seeking damages for injuries sustained by Gott while alive. However, the wrongful-death claim did not accrue until Gott died, and benefits obtained under it are payable to the next of kin rather than to her estate. No previously signed arbitration agreement is applicable to this claim. View "Carter v. SSC Odin Operating Co." on Justia Law