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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement

According to a recent article from Modern Healthcare, the U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled that nursing home party to a case could enforce its arbitration agreement on two families who had loved ones living in the nursing home facility.

This was a 7-1 decision. While there are now nine justices on the Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch was not on the court when the case was initially heard and did not participate in the opinion.  The only justice who did not agree with the ruling was Justice Thomas.  Based upon previous decisions on the federal act in question, many legal scholars expected this to be the court’s holding in this matter.This case involved an interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act, and the court agreed that the act allowed the nursing home to enforce its arbitration agreement against the families who wished to sue the nursing home.

As our West Palm Beach nursing home injury lawyers can explain, when you signed an agreement with the nursing home, there was a decent chance it contained what is known as an arbitration clause. This means that you agree to submit to an arbitrator in a forum of their choosing that is listed in the contract instead of filing a lawsuit.  Since these nursing homes are often owned by national companies with many facilities, they may select arbitration in a different jurisdiction from where the nursing home in which your loved one was living.

In this particular case, nursing home was in litigation against two families who each had a resident living in one of the company’s nursing home facilities. The residents did sign the agreement, but the Kentucky state supreme court held that they could still sue, because they had a “god given right” to file a suit wherever they deemed fit. The Supreme Court, in a majority opinion written by Justice Kagan, found that it was it not right that the state court put the arbitration agreement on a lower plane than a civil lawsuit.

This is a very complex issue, and even in light of this recent U.S. Supreme Court holding, there are still likely to be other issues pertaining to binding and non-binding arbitration, and there may be other ways to void an agreement based upon the issues surrounding the contract when it was signed. For this reason, you should speak with an experienced nursing home injury lawyer that has dealt with this issue in past and can help you increase the chance of a full and appropriate financial recovery.

It should also be noted that if you are deemed to have to take to the case before an arbitrator, that doesn’t mean you will not receive a full and appropriate financial recovery, but, again, having an attorney who has handled many of these cases will increase your chances of a successful outcome.  However, it should be noted that every nursing home injury case is different, as the facts are never the same, so you should discuss your actual situation with your nursing home negligence lawyer.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

U.S. Supreme Court upholds arbitration agreements for nursing homes, May 21, 2017, Modern Healthcare

More Blog Entries:

Concussions, Brain Injuries From Falls in Nursing Homes Occurring at “Unprecedented” Rates, April 25, 2017, Nursing Home Fall Attorney Blog

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