PKSD Article Continues Fight Against Arbitration Agreements
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on April 21, 2016 in Firm News
PKSD is honored to have an article written by Jeffrey Pitman, Michael Cerjack and William Gleisner III featured in Wisconsin Lawyer, the official publication of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
The article argued against the use of arbitration agreements in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This is a practice that the attorneys at PKSD have long advocated against.
Although arbitration agreements can serve as a quick and effective way to resolve controversies between businesses without the formality and expense of a judicial proceeding, many fear they can result in the coercive loss of rights and legal recourse for individuals, especially the elderly in nursing homes.
Our attorneys noted that the overall enforceability of arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act ensures that these agreements preempt state and federal law and are “valid, irrevocable and enforceable.” This means that although there are limited circumstances under which a judge may grant reprieve from an arbitration agreement, in most cases, the contract is binding and prevents a case from being heard before a jury.
The article argued that these agreements should not be used in nursing home admissions and that nursing home residents should warrant special consideration because:
- The admission process usually involves a vulnerable individual in frail health and diminished capacity who is involved in the stressful situation of finding a nursing home facility. Because of this, these individuals may not be in the right frame of mind to realize that these provisions limit their right to a trial by jury.
- Admission decisions are often made hastily, giving the individual little time to consider alternatives.
- The individual may not have other options for choosing another facility based on location, availability and services offered.
- Arbitration agreements are often buried amid large documents and the individual may not realize they are signing away their rights. Additionally, the resident and the facility representative may not realize the significance of such clauses.
- Arbitration agreements allow these federally funded facilities to unilaterally opt out of the judicial process.
- Confidential arbitration does not increase quality of care because the proceedings, findings and outcome are not publicly available as they would be in a trial.
To learn more about the effects of arbitration agreements on nursing home residents, read the full article, which provides a detailed analysis of the dangers of these types of agreements.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at PKSD are passionate about protecting the rights of the elderly and will work to help you get justice and fair compensation if your loved one has been injured in a nursing home or assisted living facility.