Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement “Unconscionable”

This month the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a lower state court’s ruling that an arbitration agreement used by Highland Park Care Center was unenforceable, according to a Philadelphia nursing home injury lawyer. This arbitration agreement is also used in other Grane HealthCare facilities throughout Pennsylvania. This ruling may provide a precedent and make it easier for other lawsuits against nursing home providers.

The case was filed by the estate of Fay Vincent, who claimed the nursing home was liable for negligence in the 67-year-old resident’s death. The court based its conclusion that the Arbitration Agreement was unconscionable on the deceased’s medical conditions when she signed it along with the requirement that she pay half of the arbitration expenses.

The court recognized that the resident’s clinical condition at the time of her admission complicated her ability to understand the arbitration agreement. The resident was blind and unable to read even newspaper headlines. She had received pain and anxiety medication, and no family member was present to assist her in reviewing the document. Additionally, the resident was not provided a copy of the document, and she was not told that she could consult with a lawyer prior to signing the agreement.

According to a Philadelphia nursing home injury lawyer, the court ultimately found that the decedent’s signature was procedurally unconscionable because she was:

  1. not fully orally advised of the information in the arbitration agreement and

2. was denied the ability to obtain assistance from a family member or other person who could assist her in reading the agreement.

Additionally, the court found that agreement unreasonably favored the nursing home regarding payment for claims. The agreement required that the resident pay half of all arbitration costs, including arbiters’ fees. The court found this requirement to be substantively unconscionable because it imposed additional expenses to the descendant for bringing a claim that they would not have to bear in a court action.

Brent Wieand, owner of the Wieand Law Firm, LLC, believes that this decision demonstrates a change from recent case law that favored defendants during challenges to arbitration agreements. The Philadelphia nursing home injury lawyer has seen similar arbitration agreements used throughout the state, including use of fee-splitting requirements. He states that this ruling may make it easier for attorneys who advocate for nursing home negligence victims to negate the enforceability of the arbitration agreement clauses found within many nursing home admission agreements.

Contact the Wieand Law Firm, LLC Today

The Philadelphia nursing home injury lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm represent victims of nursing home neglect and abuse and their families. Our attorneys have years of experience in litigating cases against both nursing home and assisted living providers. We believe that residents of care facilities deserve quality care, and we fight against nursing homes that unfairly put “profits above people.”

If you or your loved one has suffered a serious injury due to nursing home neglect or abuse, seek out the services of the attorneys at the Wieand Law Firm. Our attorneys offer a free consultation to hear about your specific situation and help you understand your legal options. To make our services accessible for all clients, we use a contingency fee agreement and only earn a fee if we earn money for you. Call today to speak directly with an attorney to find out more. Call 215-666-7777 or send us a message via the online form on the website.



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