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  • Writer's pictureBrett Leitner

Appellate Victory for New York Nursing Home Lawyer, Leitner Varughese Warywoda Secures Residents' Right to Sue Nursing Homes

Updated: Jun 12

New York Nursing Home Lawyer

New York Appellate Division Rules Against Forced Arbitration in Nursing Home Admission Agreements

New York Nursing Home Lawyer - New York Nursing Home LawyerNew York Nursing Home LawyerIn a resounding victory for nursing home residents and their families, the Appellate Division of the New York State SupremYe Court, Second Department, issued a landmark decision on May 22, 2024, in the case of Bergman v. Rosalind and Joseph Gurwin Jewish Geriatric Center of Long Island, Inc.

This decision, secured on appeal by Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC, reaffirms the fundamental right of nursing home residents to seek justice in court and rejects the enforceability of forced arbitration clauses in nursing home admission agreements.

Case Background:

The case involved Rose Kirszenweig, a nursing home resident who suffered multiple falls and injuries while residing at the Gurwin Jewish Geriatric Center. Shirley Bergman, the resident's daughter, had signed the facility's admission agreement upon her mother's admission. This agreement, like many used by nursing homes across New York, contained a provision requiring any disputes to be settled through binding arbitration, rather than through a lawsuit in court.

Lower Court Decision:

When Ms. Bergman filed a lawsuit on behalf of her mother alleging negligence by the nursing home, the facility moved to compel arbitration based on the provision in the admission agreement. The lower court granted the defendant’s motion, forcing the case into arbitration and effectively denying Ms. Bergman’s right to a jury trial.

Appellate Court Reversal:

Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC appealed the lower court decision, arguing that the arbitration clause was unenforceable and that Ms. Bergman did not have the authority to waive her mother’s right to a jury trial. The Appellate Division agreed, reversing the lower court's order and ruling in favor of Ms. Bergman.

Key Findings of the Appellate Division:

  • Insufficient Evidence of Authority to Bind to Arbitration: The Court held that the nursing home failed to prove that Ms. Bergman had the legal authority to bind her mother to arbitration. The admission agreement did not explicitly state that Ms. Bergman was signing pursuant to a power of attorney, and the nursing home did not provide any evidence of such a power of attorney.

  • Co-Agent Requirement Under Power of Attorney: Further bolstering the decision, the Court found that the power of attorney, presented by Ms. Bergman, required her to act jointly with her sister, Ruth Graber, as co-agents. Since Ms. Graber did not sign the admission agreement, Ms. Bergman could not unilaterally bind her mother to arbitration.

  • Right to Amend Complaint Upheld: The Appellate Division also granted Ms. Bergman's cross-motion to amend the complaint and add Ms. Graber as a plaintiff, further strengthening the case against the nursing home.

Significance of the Decision:

  • Protection of Resident's Rights: The Appellate Division's decision is a significant victory for nursing home residents' rights, reaffirming their right to pursue their claims in court and have their cases heard by a jury of their peers.

  • Rejection of Forced Arbitration: This decision sets a strong precedent against the enforceability of forced arbitration clauses in nursing home admission agreements, particularly when those agreements are signed by family members who may not have the proper legal authority to bind the resident to such provisions.

  • Increased Accountability for Nursing Homes: By upholding the right to pursue lawsuits in court, this decision promotes greater accountability for nursing homes that neglect or abuse their residents.

Our Commitment As Yor New York Nursing Home Lawyer

This victory underscores the firm’s unwavering commitment to fighting for the rights of nursing home residents and their families. We believe that all residents deserve to live in a safe and dignified environment, and we will continue to challenge any attempts to deprive them of their right to seek justice when they are harmed.

Ready To Contact A New York Nursing Home Lawyer?

If you or a loved one has suffered neglect or abuse in a nursing home, don't hesitate to contact us. We are experienced nursing home abuse attorneys who are dedicated to holding negligent facilities accountable and securing justice for those who have been harmed.

email: | voice call: (212) 671-1110 | text message: (631) 886-4260

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