Arbitration Clause in Nursing Home Admission Contract Struck Down
Recently, a California appellate court refused to enforce an arbitration provision in a nursing home admission contract finding that the 94 year-old nursing home resident suffering from Alzheimer’s had not agreed to arbitrate disputes with the home. In the case, the elderly patient’s son had signed the nursing home admissions contract on his mother’s behalf. At the time, he did not have a Power of Attorney from her nor had he been appointed her conservator. She was allegedly neglected and abused in the nursing home and suffered injury as a result. Subsequently, her son sued the nursing home on her behalf alleging elder abuse, negligence, and violation of the Patient’s Bill of Rights. The nursing home petitioned to compel arbitration.
The trial court refused to compel arbitration and the appeals court affirmed. Many nursing home admissions contracts throughout California include arbitration clauses. The San Mateo County and California nursing home abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm Inc. represent patients and their families in nursing home abuse cases and litigate these arbitration clauses. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in San Mateo County or elsewhere in California call the Evans Law Firm today at (415) 441-8669.
Under California law, contracts are enforceable only where there is mutual assent to be bound by the terms of the contract. The requirement of mutual assent extends to arbitration clauses in contracts as well. In cases involving arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts, California courts hold that the nursing home bears the burden of establishing that a valid agreement to arbitrate exists between the patient and the home. Since in this case the patient herself did not sign the agreement, the court held that the nursing home had the burden of establishing the authority of her son to sign on her behalf. Because the nursing home in the case produced no evidence that the patient’s son was her conservator, had a power of attorney, or was otherwise expressly authorized to act on the patient’s behalf, the court found that the patient was not bound by the arbitration provision. Accordingly, the court refused to compel arbitration
If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse in San Mateo County or any California county, contact San Mateo County and California nursing home abuse attorney Ingrid Evans and the other nursing home abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Our attorneys have wide experience with cases of nursing home abuse. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.