A pivotal case is underway that could have a huge impact on the victim’s of nursing home abuse and their ability to hold nursing home staff and administration accountable. Currently, a clause found in some Nursing Home contracts, known as “mandatory arbitration/forced arbitration” makes it virtually impossible for victims to seek justice for nursing home abuse or neglect.
What is forced arbitration?:
Very simply put when a forced arbitration clause is signed by a consumer, he/she is essentially blocked from filing criminal or civil charges in a traditional court system. If abuse or neglect does occur, the victim or their families are forced to litigate the matter via arbitration, where a private party reviews the matter and decides what, if any actions should be taken.
A Massachusetts man, with the assistance of his legal team, is piloting a new tactic in court. His mother died several years ago in a Nursing Home. She was murdered by her roommate, a patient that the Nursing Home had documented as a “risk to harm herself or others.” The nursing home failed to protect the victim in the case, but because of a forced arbitration clause the nursing home was never held accountable. Now, years after the tragic incident that killed his mother, the son of the victim is still fighting to hold the nursing home accountable and to shine a light on the negative implications of nursing home arbitration. His argument states the arbitration shouldn’t be legally bound because he signed the papers, not his mother.
“State regulators are concerned because the secretive nature of arbitration can obscure patterns of wrongdoing from prospective residents and their families. Recently, officials in 16 states and the District of Columbia urged the federal government to deny Medicaid and Medicare money to nursing homes that use the clauses. Between 2010 and 2014, hundreds of cases of elder abuse, neglect and wrongful death ended up in arbitration, according to an examination by The New York Times of 25,000 arbitration records and interviews with arbitrators, judges and plaintiffs.” NY Times, Read the full article here.
If you or a loved one has been victimized in a New York nursing home, contact us today.
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