Negligent nursing home care may cause serious injuries or even death, as well as emotional pain for the victim’s family. Many nursing care facilities in Maryland require patients to execute agreements upon admittance in which they agree to arbitrate any future legal claims against the facility. In a June 27, 2019 Maryland wrongful death case, the validity of such an arbitration agreement was decided by the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.
The plaintiff’s father and the decedent in the case had resided at the defendant’s nursing care facility before his death. The day before her father was admitted to the facility, the plaintiff executed an admission contract on his behalf. The contract required that all disputes arising out of a patient’s stay at the facility be submitted to mediation, and if not resolved through mediation, be submitted to an arbitration process.
Following her father’s death, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against the defendants in circuit court, alleging that while in the care of the defendant’s facility, her father developed serious health concerns, including bed sores and gangrene, as a result of inadequate medical care. The plaintiff further alleged that these conditions were caused by the defendant’s negligence, and that the defendant was responsible for causing her father’s death. After the lower court granted the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration, the plaintiff filed an appeal.