Nursing Home Abuse: Nursing Homes Try To Avoid Litigation Through Arbitration Clauses

The New York Times in an article on February 21, 2016 highlighted the ever increasing problem with nursing home agreements burying arbitration clauses in residency agreements to bar cases from being litigated in the courts.  The article features a Massachusetts case wherein a 100 year old resident was found dead in a nursing home strangled and suffocated, with a plastic shopping bag over her head.  The killer was her 97 year old roommate, who had severe dementia.   The nursing home had knowledge that the killer had a history of problems.

The deceased’s son instituted a case against the nursing home.  The son had signed the admissions paperwork containing the arbitration clause on his mother’s behalf.  The son was also the health care proxy (to make decisions about her medical treatment) but did not have a power of attorney.  The son was forced to go to arbitration which found the sole cause of his mother’s death was the other resident and that the nursing home was not negligent.  The appeals court reversed and the case is finally scheduled for trial after 6 years.

The article found:  “Nursing homes in particular have embraced the [arbitration] clauses, which are often buried in complex contracts that are difficult to navigate, especially for elderly people with dwindling mental acuity or their relatives, who can be emotionally vulnerable when admitting a parent to a home.”

If you are looking for a nursing home abuse attorney, Russo & Kieck is a full service law firm in Hackensack, New Jersey.  We represent clients throughout Northern New Jersey in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Union Counties.

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