Binding Mandatory Arbitration in Nursing Homes, Something You Should Know

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Dec 17, 2008 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights

In binding mandatory arbitration, a company requires a consumer to agree to submit any dispute that may arise to binding arbitration prior to completing a transaction with the company. The consumer is required to waive their right to sue, to participate in a class action lawsuit, or to appeal.

Mack and Lovie Mitchell witnessed first-hand the effects of binding mandatory arbitration in long-term care facilities. After suffering from numerous strokes and Alzheimer's, Mack was admitted to Cordova Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Collierville, Tennessee. Upon his admission, Mr. Mitchell was not competent to sign his own admission papers, and Cordova needed Mrs. Mitchell to sign them for him.

Unfortunately, at the time of the meeting, Mrs. Mitchell had been receiving chemotherapy for Stage 3 cancer. The medication left her with blurry vision and difficulty concentrating, preventing her from reading the agreement.  Instead, Cordova's admissions counselor summarized its terms and Mrs. Mitchell signed it.

During the three months that Mr. Mitchell was a patient at Cordova, he suffered several injuries from multiple falls and severe neglect which led to his eventual death.

Mrs. Mitchell filed a complaint against Cordova/Kindred. In response, Kindred attempted to force Mrs. Mitchell into arbitration instead of court. The case made it all the way to the Tennessee Court of Appeals where it was concluded Mrs. Mitchell must enter into binding mandatory arbitration.

This case is just one of many examples across the country of elder Americans who are forced into signing arbitration clauses prior to being admitted to long-term care. Congress has introduced legislation called the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act which would put an end to these practices.

Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C. is a Wisconsin law firm with a devoted nursing home neglect practice.  Our nursing home abuse and neglect trial team has successfully represented abused and neglected residents in almost every county.  We know Wisconsin.

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