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WV Supreme Court Rules Arbitration Unconscionable In Nursing Home Lawsuits

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The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled on three separate nursing home abuse lawsuits, ordering that juries, not arbitrators, should decide nursing home health care disputes.

In each of the three cases, plaintiffs alleged negligence in the death of a resident, however, signed admission agreements contained arbitration clauses stating that in the case of legal disputes regarding care given, the dispute would be handled by arbitration. In arbitration, third parties make a decision on a case instead of a jury and that decision is not subject to appeal and usually cannot be challenged. Arbitration is generally quicker and cheaper than taking the dispute to court.

The ruling states that, in essence, “our constitution recognizes that factual disputes should be decided by juries of lay citizens rather than paid, professional fact-finders (arbitrators) who may be more interested in their fees than the disputes at hand.”

Paul T. Farrell Jr., President of the West Virginia Association for Justice said in a news release  that “[t]he right to a jury trial is in our constitution, right next to the right to bear arms,…The West Virginia Supreme Court listened to the arguments on both sides and ruled that no small print can take away our constitutional rights.” disclaimer: This article: WV Supreme Court Rules Arbitration Unconscionable In Nursing Home Lawsuits was posted on Friday, July 8th, 2011 at 3:33 pm at and is filed under Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits.

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