Doctor Examining an Elderly Patient

A court in California has joined other states in refusing to enforce a nursing home arbitration clause.

Marjorie Fitzpatrick, an elderly California woman who entered a nursing home in 2012, fell outside unsupervised and suffered injuries which led to her death. Her estate filed a wrongful death suit against the facility.

However, the contract with the facility contained an arbitration clause which the nursing home attempted to enforce. They claimed that the daughter who filed the suit on behalf of the estate was bound by the clause. An appellate court in California disagreed and ruled that the clause was not binding on the daughter as she was suing not on her own behalf, but on behalf of the estate and the other children.

The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog reported on this case in “New Case On Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements In California.”

This is good news for the elderly.

All too often nursing home arbitration clauses act as barriers to relief from nursing home neglect and abuse. Elder law attorneys have noticed a sharp increase in the clauses being inserted into contracts. It can be more difficult for people to press claims and receive full compensation for injuries in arbitration than in court.

An elder law attorney could be helpful in reading over any contract with a nursing home and also negotiating any questionable clauses.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Feb. 8, 2016) “New Case On Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements In California.”

For more information on elder law and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.