Years Fighting for Justice
Mary Brinson, 76, suffered from dementia and needed more living assistance than her sister Ann could provide for her. When Mary was admitted to a nursing home, Ann took care of the admissions forms, which was over 40 pages long and included a forced arbitration clause near the end.
Though Mary was in good health upon entering the home, her health deteriorated rapidly. Not long after her admission, Mary developed severe contractures (shortening and hardening of muscles and joints) and several bedsores sores (skin injuries from prolonged pressure) from neglect and poor care. She also suffered from dehydration, weight loss and malnutrition. At her sister’s insistence, Mary was taken to hospital where they discovered her bed sores were so bad that they were infected and seeped a foul brownish drainage.
Eventually Mary returned to the nursing home, but just three days into her stay she developed a urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and sepsis because of the poor care she received. Mary was found unresponsive and with a temperature of 103.3. She was taken back to hospital, but the damage was already done – Mary’s condition continued to worsen until she died a few months later. During all of this suffering, Mary had developed over 17 severe bedsores, 10 of which were badly infected.
When Ann tried to hold the nursing home accountable in court for the way they treated her sister, the nursing home tried to force her into arbitration. The trial court agreed with Ann, but the nursing home appealed to a higher court. That court also agreed with Ann, but the nursing home wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. The nursing home appealed to the highest court and lost again, but they had successfully evaded justice for six years by hiding behind the arbitration clause. Mary’s family had to endure six years of fighting for justice, all because of a forced arbitration clause.