Family of elderly man who died of neglect speaks out about forced arbitration

Evan’s father died with an oozing bedsore, about the size of a fist. He hadn’t had any food or liquid for 4 or 5 days.

Evan wanted to file suit against the nursing home for the neglect that caused his father’s death. He concluded that a jury trial couldn’t change what happened to his family: but it would send a message to nursing homes that abuse and neglect will not be tolerated.

The nursing home company informed Evan Press that he had no right to file a lawsuit for the wrongful death of his father.

The contract that they had used to admit his father to the facility had an arbitration clause.

Arbitration clause: you agree to give up your Constitutional right to trial, and instead submit any claims against the company to an arbitrator, who is chosen by the company, and paid by the company.

Now the nursing home is suing Evan Press, for attempting to break the arbitration clause.

Just another way to limit consequences

Nursing home companies that use contracts with arbitration clauses usually require a patient or representative to sign this contract before admittance.

Companies claim that patients aren’t giving up any rights or privileges when they sign these contracts— this is their explanation, as they ask the elderly resident to waive his Constitutional rights.

As arbitration has increasingly replaced court as the forum for dispute resolution, the amount of money recovered by abuse victims and their families has decreased—even as complaints about poor treatment have risen.

– Based on study done by nursing home industry itself

Forced arbitration doesn’t benefit consumers. It’s really expensive: attorney’s fees aren’t covered, and the company can force you to travel to wherever they choose to hold the arbitration, which is often an incredible inconvenience.

Plus, you can’t appeal a decision from a binding arbitration. If you don’t agree with an arbitrator’s decision, there is no next step.

And there is no public record of the arbitration meeting, as there is with a jury trial.

For families like Evan’s, there is limited and unjust recourse for the unnecessary death of a loved one.


About Kevin
Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.