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Arkansas Wrongful Death Arbitration Challenged

Wednesday, December, 3, 2014


When Evan Press’ father passed away while under the care in a Fayetteville nursing home, Press charged the facility with wrongful death.  He claims his father’s health went into steep decline shortly after he was admitted.  However, when he attempted to being suit he discovered that the admissions paperwork he signed when he brought his father to the nursing home stipulated that he would have to go through an arbitration process and that he had waived his right to a jury trial.

 

Press is now attempting to challenge the arbitration clause.  Nursing home arbitration challenges have been partially successful as litigants argue they were not emotionally capable of comprehending what they were signing when bringing ailing parents and grandparents to facilities.

 

Nursing Homes like arbitration not so much because of the typically lower costs involved, but due to the privacy provisions: Arbitration is not considered a public action, and thus the testimony and other proceedings are confidential.  This can allow a facility to settle a wrongful death suit without bad publicity.

 

Press claims he is pursuing a public trial to make other aware of what can happen at these facilities.

 

While not guaranteed, the courts have proved to be somewhat friendly to the argument that arbitration agreements buried in contracts signed under the stressful conditions of a loved one being admitted, and some arbitration clauses in nursing home agreements have been struck down recently.  The nursing home in question is counter-suing Press in this case.