2012-10-18-Trial News

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Illinois court rejects arbitration clause in nursing home wrongful death action

Steven M. Sellers

The Illinois Supreme Court rejected applying a nursing home arbitration clause to a wrongful death action, but did approve arbitration of a related survival action. The unanimous court ruled that the plaintiff, an estate administrator, was a nonparty who could not be compelled to arbitrate the wrongful death claim because such actions accrue only when a patient dies and inure exclusively to the patient’s heirs. The court viewed its decision as consistent with Marmet Health Care Center, Inc. v. Brown, where the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act preempted a state law that categorically barred nursing home arbitration clauses.

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