ACCEPTING ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS IN A NURSING HOME

A new case involving arbitration agreements and nursing homes was recently addressed by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal. As discussed in previous blog posts, arbitration agreements and their provisions are commonplace and can be found in almost all nursing home residency agreements. The arbitration provisions can significantly limit the resident’s rights to seek damages and limit their access to the court system.

In the recent 2nd DCA decision of Spring Lake NC, LLC v. Beloff, So.3d, 38 FLW D574 (Fla. 2nd DCA 3-8-2013), the arbitration provision of the residency agreement contained two separate signature lines, one for accepting arbitration disputes and one for declining arbitration. The main issue of the case focused on whether the person signing the agreement was pressured into signing the agreement, given that she signed the agreement accepting the arbitration option without knowing its legal impact and only after a 15 minute meeting with the nursing home.

It appears that the Plaintiff argued that she felt pressure because she had a subjective feeling that her husband would not get the necessary attention until she signed the agreement. Because there was no evidence supporting that any representative of the home applied direct pressure to the resident or his wife, the 2nd DCA held that the agreement was not unconscionable and therefore was binding on the Plaintiff.

Nursing home litigation and arbitration agreements can present many challenging hurdles. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury as a result of nursing home abuse or negligence we invite you to contact our office for a free case review.

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