There is some good news for nursing home abuse victims and their families. The Health and Human Services Department has passed a rule barring nursing homes and assisted-living facilities that receives federal funding from requiring their residents to sign “arbitration” clauses.
I have already blogged about why arbitration clauses are not good for consumers, especially consumers of medical services.
Nursing homes prefer arbitration to court because the arbitration associations they use are heavily stacked with pro-nursing home arbitrators who are afflicted by something called “repeat player bias”. What’s that? You might go up against a nursing home in arbitration one time in your life, but the nursing home and all its allies are there repeatedly defending claims brought by others like you. The nursing home is thus a “repeat player”. Repeat players get cozy with the arbitrators. If the “repeat players” don’t like certain arbitrators “tendencies”, they refuse to select them or otherwise sideline them. The arbitrators know who butters their bread. If they want to stay in the arbitration business, they had better please the “repeat players”. And that ain’t you!
Also, there are no juries in arbitration, just “arbitrators” making the decisions. Juries are more likely to get angry with nursing homes that abuse patients, and thus are more likely to award the patients with generous compensation. That’s another reason why nursing homes are afraid of courtrooms and juries and want to force you into arbitration.
Finally, nursing homes prefer arbitration because it keeps their wrongdoing hidden from the public. Arbitration proceedings do not take place in open forums with public records like trials in courthouses, but quietly in law offices or office buildings and are usually confidential.
The new rule is scheduled to go into effect by November.
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Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.