AARP, filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief in a wrongful death lawsuit pending in New Mexico. The brief is intended to provide supplement information to the court regarding an injured nursing home resident’s ability to pursue a nursing home negligence lawsuit in court as opposed to binding arbitration as stipulated to in a nursing home admission agreement.
Roswell Senior Living, the owner of a nursing home in New Mexico filed a motion to dismiss a nursing home negligence lawsuit filed by the family of a deceased nursing home resident. Roswell claims any disputes involving nursing home injury or death, should be resolving via arbitration as stipulated by admission paperwork. AARP has taken a position, supportive of the family bringing the lawsuit that the arbitration clause should be held invalid because of the unequal bargaining position and an injured person’s right to jury trial.
Many unsuspecting nursing home residents sign arbitration agreements when they are admitted to the facility. Little do they know that should they become injured due to the negligence of the facility they could be forced to forgo their right to a jury trial and damages. Arbitration’s have generally been used to resolve business disputes, behind closed doors in a private forum. Because no court actually hears the matter, many discovery, evidentary and procedural rights are curtailed. The curtailment of rights usually adversely impacts the injured party.
Fortunately, many State Courts have recently held these binding arbitration agreements to be invalid, and allow injury nursing home residents to pursue claims for damages in court. We will keep blog readers posted the outcome of this case.
Nursing Home Injury Laws: New Mexico