Estate of Williams v. Manor Care of Dunedin, Inc., 923 So. 2d 615 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2006)

The Estate appealed after the trial court granted Manor Care’s motion to compel arbitration. Resident’s wife had signed admissions agreement and an arbitration and limitation of liability agreement. After the resident filed suit, Manor Care answered, making a demand for trial by jury. Later it moved to compel arbitration. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that Manor Care waived its right to trial by jury. The Court found that Manor Care had a duty to safeguard its right to arbitration if it wished to preserve it. By answering and demanding jury trial without mentioning arbitration, Manor Care waived its right to arbitration and could not reclaim it without the other party’s consent. The trial court erred by requiring the Estate to show prejudice; no prejudice is required for there to be an effective waiver. The trial court also erred by requiring the Estate to show that Manor Care had knowledge of the right to arbitrate; each party and their counsel are charged with knowledge of the agreement.

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