“In the last few years, powerful corporate lawyers have begun encouraging their corporate clients to insert clauses into consumer contracts that protect those companies from all class action lawsuits.
The motivation for this strategy?
It’s as simple as it is wrong. These lawyers simply want to shield the corporate profits of their clients in the event a corporation’s products or services cause harm to consumers.”
We wrote those paragraphs almost a year ago – and in that article, we talked about the harm caused by this new tactic to nursing home clients across Connecticut and the rest of the country.
On September 28th, 2016 – the U.S. government’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a ruling that bars any nursing home that receives federal funding from requiring that its residents resolve any disputes in arbitration, instead of court.
This new rule, which will affect over 1.5 million nursing home patients across America, will prevent nursing homes from forcing claims of elder abuse, sexual harassment, and even wrongful death into the private system of justice known as arbitration.
Just what is arbitration?
Private arbitration involves the referral of a dispute to an “impartial” third party arbitrator. Parties bound to arbitrate agree in advance to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision after a hearing in which both parties have an opportunity to be heard.
The problem with arbitration?
The arbitrators often have business relationships with the very companies/nursing homes involved in each arbitration.
A conflict of interest?
Without a doubt.
Good for corporate bottom lines and bad for consumers? Yes.
This step by the Department of Health and Human Services is a major victory for families. And not surprisingly, it’s one that the nursing home industry promises to fight.
Lawyers who work for the elderly and their families note that when people are considering nursing home care – they are usually stressed and upset and often don’t realize the contracts they are signing are severely limiting their rights to protect their loved ones in the event of a problem.
This new ruling will take effect by November 2016 unless the nursing home industry mounts a legal challenge – a challenge that is expected.
If you or a loved one is ever injured in a nursing home incident of any kind, call a qualified Connecticut personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable and well trained personal injury lawyer can help you fight powerful corporate interests when you’ve been hurt, ensuring that you’re not harassed or abused and that your rights are protected.
For over 60 years, the Connecticut personal injury attorneys at RisCassi & Davis have been working hard to protect our clients. Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind. And – there is no fee or other costs unless we are successful on your behalf.