Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 12, 2016 - The issue of binding arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts came to a head recently, as the Florida Supreme Court ruled in a nursing home lawsuit that the case should not be sent to arbitration. Furthermore, the United States government issued a rule to stop nursing homes that receive federal funding from requiring arbitration to resolve disputes.
“Nursing home residents who have been injured and families who have lost a loved one deserve their day in court,” said Robert Joyce, a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney with the Tampa firm of Joyce & Reyes. “Medical malpractice, serious injuries and wrongful death are matters that should be decided in a court of law, not in private arbitration.”
The Florida Supreme Court ruled in a case in which a son signed a nursing home contract on his father’s behalf when the father was admitted to the facility. The contract included a clause that stated that all disputes would be handled in arbitration rather than in a trial by jury. An infection led to the father losing an eye, and the son sued. The state high court ruled that the father should not be bound to a contract that was signed by another person without his agreement.
One week after the Florida Supreme Court’s decision, a new federal rule was issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the Health and Human Services Department, preventing nursing homes that accept federal funds from requiring arbitration in their contracts. The rule, which goes into effect on Nov. 28, 2016, will affect 1.5 million nursing home residents, making it easier for them to file a lawsuit in a case of medical malpractice, elder abuse or wrongful death.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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