Pennsylvania Court Rules That Arbitration Agreement Valid In Nursing Home Case

In Lipshutz v. St. Monica Manor, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas recently held that the plaintiff’s survival action regarding her mother’s death from nursing home negligence must be handled via arbitration. The plaintiff had actually signed an agreement with the nursing home, which states such a claim will be handled out of court. Furthermore, the Court referenced the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which pre-empts the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure that requires wrongful death and survival claims to be litigated together. 

The Court’s opinion stated, “Were this court to order both the wrongful death claim and survival actions to remain in court, the decedent’s arbitration agreement, valid through her daughter’s signature, would be nullified. Such nullification is pre-empted by the FAA and recent United States Supreme Court interpretations.”

This ruling appears to set new precedent in Pennsylvania regarding nursing home litigation where an arbitration agreement is in place. Entering into such agreements can certainly help nursing homes avoid time and expense associated with litigating these claims.


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