Nursing Home Wrongful Death Case Allowed to Continue in Spite of Arbitration Clause

The family of Lola Norton, deceased  brought a wrongful death action against a number of defendants who were affiliated with a nursing home in which Bernard Norton’s wife, Lola  died.

Bernard and family claimed that negligent treatment caused Lola’s death. The the nursing home defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration of all claims in accordance with an agreement entered into by Lola at the time she was admitted to the nursing home.

The trial court granted the motion to stay and compel arbitration, and Bernard appealed, contending that, as a wrongful death beneficiary, he could not be bound to Lola’s arbitration agreement. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and found that Lola’s beneficiaries were not required to arbitrate their wrongful death claims against the nursing home defendants.

The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether an arbitration agreement governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and entered into by a decedent and/or her power of attorney, which bound the decedent and her estate to arbitration, was also enforceable against the decedent’s beneficiaries in a wrongful death action. The Court found that such an arbitration agreement did bind the decedent’s beneficiaries with respect to their wrongful death claims, and, accordingly, reversed the Court of Appeals. The case can now proceed at the trial court level in line with the court’s decision.

United Health Services of Georgia, Inc., et al. v. Norton, et al., S16G1143, In the Supreme Court of Georgia (March 6, 2017)

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling medical malpractice lawsuits, nursing home negligence cases, long-term care facility lawsuits, nursing home abuse cases and wrongful death cases for individuals, families and loved one for over 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and all surrounding areas including Naperville, New Lenox, Elgin, Aurora, Wheaton, Prospect Heights, Barrington, Highwood, Homewood, Hillcrest, Forest Park, Crestwood, Antioch, Chicago (Rogers Park, Englewood, North Lawndale, Austin, Garfield Park), Hanover Park and Itasca, Illinois.