In a decision that is sure to add fuel to the fire over arguments regarding the controversial practice of having nursing home residents sign arbitration agreements before entering nursing homes, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a family that filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Leesburg nursing home must go to arbitration, rather than be allowed a jury trial.
The daughter of a man who died four days after being admitted to the Avante at Leesburg nursing home in 2006 believed that since she had not signed the arbitration agreement and her father was deceased, she was not bound to the agreement.
The Florida Supreme Court disagreed and ruled that arbitration agreements in such wrongful death cases are binding, even if the signer is dead. “As reflected in the terms of the arbitration agreement, it is clear that the contracting parties intended to include wrongful death claims such as those brought in this case,” wrote Justice Barbara Pariente.
While the nursing home industry has argued that arbitration is an effective way to resolve such disputes, attorneys are concerned that they strip away a plaintiff’s right to a jury trial. At the heart of the issue is whether families or nursing home residents even understand what they are signing when it comes to arbitration documents.
Senior advocacy group AARP deemed the issue important enough to file a brief in support of the family of the deceased man during the Supreme Court proceedings.
The Orlando nursing home abuse attorneys at Farah & Farah will be keeping tabs on this constantly evolving legal controversy. We emphasize that it is important that you contact our law firm if you believe a loved one has suffered an injury or wrongful death due to the negligence of a nursing home.
Since the legal landscape on this issue is constantly changing, it is even more essential that you seek experienced and knowledgeable legal representation. If you have questions, call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online for a free discussion of your legal options.