In essence, an arbitration agreement is a contract between two parties that stipulates that a neutral arbiter, rather than a judge or jury, will have the final binding decision over any claims that arise between the parties. Arbitration agreements have become the focus of some critical attention recently, because of the ultimate fact that sophisticated parties are requiring that less sophisticated parties waive their legal right to a trial in front of a judge. Oftentimes, these arbitration clauses are provided to the less sophisticated party on a “take it or leave it” basis, leaving them to either accept the clause or forego doing business with the requesting party.
On occasion, Florida courts have held that an arbitration agreement is not enforceable as a matter of law for a number of reasons. For instance, if the clause is considered by the court to be unconscionable, or to go against public policy, then a court can void an arbitration clause. Recently, the Florida Supreme Court had the opportunity to decide if an arbitration agreement entered into between a nursing home and its deceased resident also bound future litigants to arbitration in a wrongful death action.
Laizure v. Avante at Leesburg, Inc.
In a recent case in front of the Florida Supreme Court, Laizure v. Avante at Leesburg, Inc., the court was presented with the question of whether a nursing home patient’s agreement to arbitrate all claims against a nursing home bound that resident’s estate and heirs in any subsequent wrongful death action against the nursing home. The court held that it did. Continue reading →