Arbitration Clause in Nursing Home Agreement Does Not Apply in Wrongful Death Case, Illinois Supreme Court Rules.

  If your parent has died due to the misconduct of a nursing home in Illinois, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home even if you signed an arbitration agreement with the home when admitting your parent to the home.   In the case of Carter v. SSC Odin Operating Co., LLCSue Carter’s mother died while she was a resident at Odin Nursing Home (“Odin“).   Ms. Carter had signed an arbitration agreement when she admitted her mother to the nursing home, which barred lawsuits against Odin.  However, after the death of Ms. Carter’s mother, Ms. Carter filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Odin in court, as opposed to a private arbitration.  

The Illinois Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit to proceed in court (as opposed to a private arbitration proceeding) because the wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the mother’s next of kin (e.g., children).  The court ruled that because Ms. Carter had signed the arbitration agreement as her mother’s personal representative, the agreement only required claims to be arbitrated if they were brought on the mother’s behalf, not on behalf of the mother’s next of kin.   As a result, the Illinois Supreme Court then sent the case back to the trial court to hold a trial before a jury (as opposed to an arbitration proceeding to be decided by one or more arbitrators).

The law firm of DeBlasio & Gower provides free consultations in Wrongful Death and personal injury cases.  To speak with one of our attorneys, call us at (630) 560-1123 or visit our website at  we are here to help.   There are no attorneys’ fees for our services unless we successfully resolve your personal injury or wrongful death case.

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