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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Marmet Health Care Center v. Brown: FAA Preempts Rule Prohibiting Arbitration of Nursing Home Claims

Another case that I should have noted a while back.

In Marmet Health Care Center, Inc. v. Brown, 565 U.S. --- (2/21/12), the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia -- that state's highest court -- erred in holding that all predispute arbitration agreements that apply to claims alleging personal injury or wrongful death against nursing homes are unenforceable. The West Virginia court had held that "as a matter of public policy under West Virginia law, an arbitration clause in a nursing home admission agreement adopted prior to an occurrence of negligence that results in a personal injury or wrongful death, shall not be enforced to compel arbitration of a dispute concerning the negligence."

The Supreme Court vacated and remanded for reconsideration in light of the decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. --- (2011) (discussed here).
On remand, the West Virginia court must consider whether, absent that general public policy [against predispute arbitration agreements in actions alleging personal injury or wrongful death against nursing homes], the arbitration clauses in Brown's case and Taylor's case are unenforceable under state common law principles that are not specific to arbitration and pre-empted by the FAA.
The opinion is available here.

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