Nursing Home Murder Case Could Make Way for Arbitration Cases
Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Feb 23, 2016 in Nursing Home Neglect
One month after celebrating her 100th birthday, a woman was murdered by her roommate at Brandon Woods nursing home in South Dartmouth, Mass. Now, her son will go before a state court and argue that the arbitration agreement he signed should not be upheld so that he may file a lawsuit against the nursing home.
Scott Barrow was unable to take Brandon Woods nursing home to court in 2010 because of the arbitration clause included in his mother’s admittance paperwork. Barrow signed the arbitration agreement on his mother’s behalf. However, his lawyers argue that he did not have the authority to bind his mother to arbitration. Two years ago, a judge ruled in his favor and set in motion Barrow’s chance to hold the nursing home accountable for his mother’s death.
Mrs. Barrow was strangled and suffocated by her then 97-year-old roommate following a simple disagreement. The Bristol County district attorney filed charges against the 97-year-old woman, but Barrow knew that was not the way to get justice for his mother’s death.
A recent investigative report by the New York Times revealed that hundreds of cases of elder abuse went into arbitration between 2010 and 2014. The use of arbitration clauses has increased over the years as companies have included them in loan, credit card, cellphone service agreements and more.
In nursing homes, the clauses are sometimes hidden deep within admittance paperwork. Many signees do not know they are agreeing to private arbitration or understand the jargon often included in these agreements.
Sixteen states are requesting the government deny Medicare and Medicaid to nursing homes that use these agreements. Though most judges uphold the clauses, some appeals courts have begun throwing out arbitration agreements signed by family members on behalf of their loved ones.
The Barrow case could bring about changes in how arbitration clauses are used within nursing home agreements and if cases may be brought forward.
The team at D’Amico & Pettinicchi strongly opposes arbitration agreements. If someone you love has been a victim or nursing home neglect and you have been unable to obtain justice, contact our experienced nursing home negligence attorneys and get the help you need.