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Medical Arbitration Notification Required, Says Appeals Court

Friday, September, 2, 2011

Most medical arbitration cases revolve around the issue of malpractice on the part of a physician, hospital, or other care provider.  The case of Nurse Maureen Hergenreder, however, involves issues that are closely related to workplace arbitration even though the medical facility Bickford Senior Living Group based out of Kansas is involved.


At issue in the case was the question of whether an employee can be held to an arbitration agreement that she never received notice of.  Then 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a resounding "no" on that question this week, overturning a lower court decision that had reached a different conclusion.


Details of Medical Arbitration Case


Reportedly Hergenreder had been hired by Bickford in 2006.  Shortly afterwards, she went out on leave due to a diagnosis of cancer.  She was slated to return to her job in December, 2006 after just three months of leave, but received notice in January of 2007 that she was being fired. 


Hergenreder filed suit on the basis that the firm had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.  She had received an employee handbook that outlined arbitration requirements.  She signed that she had read it, but the appeals court determined that, “She was not advised of the [arbitration process] and…nothing else in the record establishes that a legally binding agreement to arbitrate was created between Hergenreder and Bickford.”