Can son bind mother in nursing home to arbitration? Suit over slaying raises the issue
Lawyers will argue next month that a Massachusetts nursing home shouldn’t be able to force arbitration in a lawsuit over the death of a 100-year-old woman who was allegedly killed by her 97-year-old roommate.
The suit in Massachusetts state court argues the arbitration clause in the nursing home contract is invalid because it was signed by the son of Elizabeth Barrow, the slain woman, the New York Times DealBook blog reports. Barrow’s son, Scott, was authorized to make medical decisions for his mother, but he did not have power of attorney.
Lawyers argue that Barrow’s son did not have the authority to bind his mother to arbitration. The argument “is catching on,” according to the DealBook column. “Appeals courts across the country have been throwing out arbitration agreements signed by family members of nursing home residents.”
The Massachusetts case was filed against the Brandon Woods nursing home in South Dartmouth. Prosecutors had charged Barrow’s roommate with murder, but she was found unfit to stand trial.
An arbitrator in Barrow’s case had ruled in favor of the nursing home. His ruling “consisted of a single check mark, indicating that Brandon Woods had not been negligent in its care,” DealBook writes.