Published on:

Florida Supreme Court Upholds Rights Of Nursing Home Patients In Striking Arbitration Clauses

Nursing Home Arbitration TrendAn emerging trend in nursing home litigation has been the incorporation of arbitration clauses into admission paperwork. Under an arbitration provision, patients forfeit their right to a jury trial and disputes are resolved at a private arbitration hearing by an arbitrator.  Similarly, some arbitration provisions limit an individuals economic recovery even though state laws provide otherwise.

While most patients and their families never anticipate the need to rely on an arbitration clause to resolve disputes such as injuries occurring to a patient during a nursing home admssion, arbitration provisions significantly impair individual’s rights.  Many nursing home arbitrations are decided by a single arbitrator (who may be readily used by facilities) and use evidentiary provisions that can make the production of documents and testimony extremely difficult.

Recognizing the inherent unfairness of nursing home arbitration clauses, the Florida Supreme Court recently invalidated these provisions in two separate nursing home negligence cases (Gayle Shotts v. OP Winter Haven Inc. and Angela Gessa v. Manor Care of Florida Inc.) on the basis that the arbitration provisions undermine public policy and that such agreements impede on the rights granted to injured parties by the state’s legislature.

The invalidation of these arbitration clauses means that Florida courts will begin to see a new wave of nursing home negligence cases on their docket as nursing home patients are afforded the same right to trial as folks injured in a more conventional setting.  As nursing home operators realize that they can no longer claim that they are entitled to preferential treatment with the use of arbitration clauses used in their favor, my hope is that better care for all Florida nursing home patients may be in the future.

Related:

Florida justices invalidate nursing home arbitration November 23, 2011 wtsp.com

GESSA v. MANOR CARE OF FLORIDA, INC., No. SC09-768. Supreme Court of Florida November 23, 2011

Judge Denies Assisted Living Facilities Request For Arbitration In Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Another State Invalidates Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
    ★★★★★
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
    ★★★★★
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
    ★★★★★
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
    ★★★★★
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.
    ★★★★★