Legislation Eliminates Mandatory Binding Arbitration as a Shield for Negligent Nursing Home Corporations

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Legislation Eliminates Mandatory Binding Arbitration as a Shield for Negligent Nursing Home Corporations 

For Immediate Release: September 11, 2008

Contact: Amaya Smith
202.965.3500, ext. 8369

Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act

Washington, DC—Today, the Senate Judiciary passed the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act (S.2838), moving Wisconsin resident David Kurth and his family one step closer to getting justice.  David Kurth testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June about the tragic death of his father, William F. Kurth who died due to severe neglect of care while in a nursing home facility.  When the Kurth family tried to hold the nursing home corporation accountable they were told that Mrs. Kurth, who was 82 at the time, unknowingly signed an arbitration clause.
The Kurth family is just one of many families around the country that are forced into binding mandatory arbitration clauses when trying to find long term care for their loved ones.  The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act would prevent nursing home corporations from forcing these agreements on patients and their families before a dispute occurs.  The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee passed similar legislation in July.
“The practice of mandatory arbitration in nursing home contracts is one that preys on vulnerable seniors and their families when they are making tough decisions about long-term care,” said American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Les Weisbrod.  “It is a system deliberately designed to take advantage of the weakest members of our society in order to pad the profits of greedy nursing home corporations.” 
“AAJ attorneys represent families who are still recovering from the tragic neglect of a loved one when they are told that they cannot hold the nursing home accountable because of a hidden arbitration clause. The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act would ensure that no other families are duped out of their right to get justice after a nursing home tragedy.”

As the world's largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org/newsroom.

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