Assisted living arbitration agreement not enforceable in case involving resident death, judge rules

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Assisted living arbitration agreement not enforceable in case involving resident death, judge rules
Assisted living arbitration agreement not enforceable in case involving resident death, judge rules

The family of an assisted living resident can sue the community where he lived in a case related to his death despite having signed an arbitration agreement, a Minnesota judge has ruled, according to the Star-Tribune.

Anoka County District Court Judge Sean Gibbs, the newspaper reported, said that the agreement signed by the family of Gerald Seeger was not enforceable “because the family was subjected to a ‘rushed, pressured process' ” at the time of Seeger's admission to New Perspective – Columbia Heights, an assisted living and memory care community also known as Lighthouse of Columbia Heights, in Columbia Heights, MN.

Seeger was 89 when he died in September 2014 of complications of a hernia, according to the media outlet. His daughter, Joan Maurer, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the community after Minnesota Department of Health investigators found that it had not provided timely medical care.

Eden Prairie, MN-based New Perspective Senior Living did not respond to a request for comment by the McKnight's Senior Living production deadline. This article will be updated if additional information becomes available.

Assisted living and skilled nursing operators are awaiting the ultimate fate of a federal rule that disallows pre-dispute arbitration agreements during nursing home resident admissions. The rule originally was set to go into effect Nov. 28 but has been put on hold by the courts.

Representatives of the National Center for Assisted Living had encouraged the group's members to comment on the rule when the the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was finalizing it in 2015, fearing that a ban at the federal level also might lead to state-level prohibitions in assisted living.

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