The Florida Supreme Court on Nursing Home Arbitration – Did they get it right?

Author: Mark B. Hartig

Arbitration agreements exist all around us. Virtually everyone who reads this is bound to one. You have them with your credit card holders, your auto lease company, with your bank and mortgage broker, and maybe even with your own treating doctor. In almost all of these cases, if a dispute arises and you want to sue, you are going to arbitration, no matter what.

That’s because the enforcement of arbitration agreements have become commonplace in state and federal courts throughout the country. It’s not controversial. It’s actually considered a “favored” form of dispute resolution. So much so, that that is written in to the Federal Arbitration Act, and mimicked in numerous state arbitration codes and court case decisions.

This is apparently not so when it comes to nursing homes. The Florida Supreme Court invalidated two arbitration agreements last week and in the process appeared to lash out at arbitration as a favored form of dispute resolution but only when it comes to nursing homes. The Court found that limitations in arbitration agreements on the amounts nursing home residents could collect if they were in court “violate public policy” and thus is illegal.
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One response

  1. The majority opinion cited everything in the arbitration clause except the “delegation clause” it claimed did not exist. The dissent is spot-on: Rent-a-Center controls, and if appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, I would be reasonably confident, if I were OP Winter Haven, the Court will reverse the decision. In my experience, there are jurists who simply do not like arbitration, and will look for any justification to limit or exclude it entirely.

    By the way, the 2d DCA has also just announced Fla. Stat. 95.11 does not apply to arbitrations. I have a mind to tell my business clients in the Tampa area to go into storage, pull out any contracts with arbitration agreements, and if there have been breaches of any kind over the last 20 years, submit arbitration claims.

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