Articles Tagged with nursing home lawyer

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Florida courts have been increasingly allowing nursing home negligence lawsuits to go to trial, despite the existence of nursing home arbitration agreements. Defendant nursing homes are looking to compel plaintiffs to resolve their dispute via arbitration, where outcomes are private and tend to favor the facility.

The grounds on which a court may find an agreement unenforceable usually involve whether the agreement is “unconscionable.” That means the contract is so one-sided, it’s unfair to one party and violates public policy. It’s the kind of contract that leaves one party with no real, meaningful choice and typically arises due to the power imbalance between the two parties. So many of these nursing home arbitration agreements are signed by vulnerable patients or their loved ones upon admission – sometimes as a condition to admission. A contract can be unconscionable if there is:

  • Undue influence;
  • Duress;
  • Unequal bargaining power;
  • Unfair surprise.

Such an agreement may also be unenforceable if the person who signed it did not have the capacity or authority to do so. Elderly adults with dementia may not have the mental capacity to enter into legal agreements, but if their relatives are not expressly designated as their legal representative, they may not be able to legally sign on their loved one’s behalf.  Continue reading →

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A jury in Colorado has awarded the family of a former patient $5.5 million in damages – which included $5 million in punitive damages – following the death of a patient in 2013, just six months after she was admitted. 

Attorneys who represented her family announced in a press release the record-setting award in that county, which was based on the fact that her death was reportedly preceded by months of repeated abuse and neglect. The damage award was imposed against both defendants, the nursing home itself and its corporate parent, Life Care Centers of America, Inc. In Florida, there are more than two dozen nursing homes owned by this same corporation, including two in Orlando and one in West Palm Beach.

The press release asserted this was a company that, like so many others, put profits ahead of patient care. There with issues with poor care, gaps in charting and staffing shortages – all of which resulted in a fatal outcome for decedent, plaintiff’s mother. Continue reading →

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