In a confidential settlement, a nursing home paid $475,000 to a seriously injured resident. The resident was listed and charted as being at a high risk for falling. However, several nursing assistants placed the resident at the edge of her bed and then left her alone. This occurred while the resident was waiting for her dialysis appointment. The resident fell off the bed and hit her head on the floor.
The resident suffered a traumatic head injury and died one month after the date she suffered her head injuries. The resident was survived by her three adult children.
The lawsuit brought by the family of this resident alleged that the nursing home chose not to monitor the resident properly in order to prevent her fall. This case was settled as a confidential settlement.
In Illinois, arguments with defense counsel by confidential settlements have been ongoing for some time. It now seems that there is merit in the argument that settlements that do not have bargained-for and unpaid provisions for confidentiality are not good choices. A party to a settlement who refuses to enter to an agreement with confidentiality as part of it may opt to go to court to attempt to enforce the settlement without the non-bargained for confidentiality provisions. Certainly some Cook County judges and Illinois judges generally would be reluctant to upset the settlement of the case because a party refused to enter into the confidentiality part of the settlement.
Another option and an appropriate argument in opposing confidentiality clauses in the settlement agreements is that the Rule of Professional Conduct 3.4(f) states that a lawyer “shall not * * * request the person other than a client to refrain from voluntarily giving relevant information to another party” unless that person is a relative or an agent of the client and the lawyer reasonably believes that the person’s interest will not be adversely affected by refraining from disclosure.
This nursing home case was settled on the basis of confidentiality. From the reporting of the case, there is no way to know with certainty whether the confidential provisions were negotiated, bargained-for and paid for.
The attorneys representing the nursing home resident in this case was Dino M. Colucci and Thomas T. Worboys.
Doe v. Roe Nursing Home, Confidential Docket.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home abuse cases and nursing home injury cases for individuals and families of nursing home residents who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Morton Grove, Niles, Maywood, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Bellwood, Worth, Alsip, Calumet City, Chicago (Ashburn, Jackson Park, Washington Park, Wicker Park, Rogers Park, Albany Park), Lisle, Long Grove and Wilmette, Ill. Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.
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