In this blog, I planned to address the intricacies of Pennsylvania’s hills and ridges doctrine, a litigation landmine which deals with landowner liability for failing to clear property of snow and ice.
However, I am frankly sick of snow and ice. Sick of seeing it, sick of walking on it, and, as a natural result, sick of writing about it.
So instead, I will turn to an old standby. Arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts and their enforceability. As I have written before, the enforceability of arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts is very fact dependent. The devil is in the details.
The case of Davis v. Saber Healthcare Group, (C.P. Monroe, Jan. 18, 2018) is instructive as it is an example of a nursing home contract which contains an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) agreement which passes muster with the Court. The opinion was written by Judge Zulich of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas.
Plaintiff entered a nursing home facility for short-term rehabilitation therapy. She claimed to have suffered personal injury due to defendant’s understaffing of the facility. Defendants filed preliminary objections to the Complaint based on an agreement for ADR which plaintiff’s husband signed on her behalf upon admission.
So once again, a judge was faced with the question of whether an ADR agreement was enforceable. The plaintiff claimed the agreement was unconscionable. The Judge dug into the specific language of this particular agreement and determined that it passed and determined that it passed muster.
What made this agreement valid where others have been found wanting and unenforceable? The specific language in the agreement advising plaintiff that the ADR agreement was not a condition of admission and that she had 60 days in which to cancel the agreement. The court found that this particular provision passed the unconscionability test. It was a fair agreement and the plaintiff made a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent waiver of her right to a jury trial by signing the ADR agreement.
By Sam Abloeser