Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court ruled on an issue of great importance to many Floridians. The Court's decision was focused on arbitration agreements—specifically, an agreement used by many healthcare providers throughout the state. In a 5-2 decision, the Court held that the arbitration agreement “violates the public policy pronounced by the Legislature in the Medical Malpractice Act” and therefore found the agreement to be void and unenforceable.
Oftentimes healthcare providers ask patients to sign such agreements before they will provide care. These agreements, which have also popped up in recent years in nursing-home cases, attempt to keep lawsuits from going before juries. In addition, such agreements put severe limitations on what a patient can recover.
This important issue was the subject of a previous blog post (found here: http://www.margolandmargol.com/blog/7250/ ). The Supreme Court’s decisions in Gessa and Shotts, as discussed in that post, addressed the issue of arbitration agreements in the context of nursing home cases.
This new decision by the Court further supports the proposition that a healthcare provider cannot contractually limit or eliminate specific remedies created by the Legislature. The Florida Supreme Court’s complete decision in Franks v. Bowers can be found here: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2013/sc11-1258.pdf
If you or someone you know is in need of legal assistance, call Margol & Margol at (904) 355-7508 or toll free (888) 963-6498 or, if you prefer, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.