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Is Forced Arbitration Helping Nursing Homes Abuse Seniors?

March 24, 2016
Colson Hicks Eidson

It’s like a get-out-of-jail-free card for banks, corporations and cell phone providers, but most of America doesn’t know about it. Forced arbitration clauses are the newest method for stripping constitutional rights away from consumers. These clauses block class action suits, force individuals into expensive arbitration, and help companies get away with illegal acts against consumers. Now parts of the healthcare industry have started using these clauses to shield themselves from angry victims.

Is Forced Arbitration Helping Nursing Homes Abuse Seniors?

A man went to visit his 83-year-old mother in a nursing home only to find the woman unconscious and nonresponsive. The paramedics were called immediately, but it was no use: the woman passed away the next day. This man and his family were shocked by this sudden passing, but they were far more surprised when an autopsy revealed that the woman had 20 times the recommended dose of the diabetes drug metformin in her system. The family took the case to court, but a forced arbitration clause turned their pursuit of justice into a nightmare.

First, the nursing home got the family’s court case thrown out and forced them into arbitration. Next, the nursing home explained the 83-year-old’s death as a kidney condition. Then, the arbitrator ruled in favor of the nursing home, even though the family had evidence that the woman had gotten excessive amounts of pills on previous occasions. Unfortunately, cases like this are popping up more and more frequently.

How Can We Fight Forced Arbitration?

Forced arbitration has been used to keep victims of negligence, wrongful death, and sexual assault from suing the nursing homes responsible, and yet most of America still doesn’t know about this problem within our legal system. In a recent editorial featured by the Miami Herald, Colson Hick Eidson partner Julie Braman Kane warns the people of Miami about the dangers of forced arbitration, but we can do even more to spread the word. Keep following our blog, and share this information on your Twitter and Facebook.