Hope for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

A Break Through in Forced Arbitration 

Until recently many abused nursing home patients have been unable to pursue legal action against their abusers due clauses hidden within nursing home contracts (forced arbitration clauses).

Forced arbitration essentially protects nursing home staff and administration from being sued in a court of law. When situations like abuse and/or neglect occur and the resident or their family decides to take legal action, instead of doing so in a court of law they are forced to deal with arbitrators hired by the nursing home. The arbitrator reviews the claim and very seldom does the victim achieve justice.

Technically, forced arbitration clauses are binding and those who unknowingly or unintentionally sign a contract including such a clause have limited options in regards to pursuing legal action in the event abuse or neglect occurs.

However a recent court case could change all of that. A New Jersey man didn’t realize that upon admitting his sister into a nursing home the contract he signed contained the dreaded forced arbitration clause.

Sadly, according to the evidence presented in his case, his elderly sister sustained abuse on multiple occasions and in more than one facility. After suffering a serious fall she was found on the floor, covered in blood and completely dehydrated (indications she had been on the ground for an extended amount of time).  She was later moved to another facility where she suffered bed sores (one of the most evident signs of neglect).

In both instances it’s clear that there was some degree of abuse/neglect, but like many others in this type of situation, options for pursuing a case were limited. The man continued to push the court to hear his case, and eventually was successful:

“… last month, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that Kleine (the injured patient)  and her attorney could take CareOne (one of the nursing home facilities) to trial. The New Jersey Appellate Division found that CareOne’s arbitration clause was unenforceable, and “other aspects of the clause suggest it may be unconscionable.” Read more here.

Click here to contact a member of our dedicated nursing home abuse and neglect attorney group.

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In furtherance of our firms culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

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This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP