Mike Laszlo and I won a terrific Colorado Court of Appeals case for our client and for nursing home patient rights in general [2015CA1252]. When you go into a nursing home you are given a packet of documents to sign which invariable includes an arbitration agreement—and agreement that if a dispute arises you give up your rights to go before a jury and plead your case. Arbitration is sold as a cost saving device but more often leads to pressure to settle and to unjust results. Colorado has a Health Care Availability Act that requires that health facilities have certain very clear and prominent language in their patient agreements relating to pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses. In this case, the facility had some language that was similar to the required disclosure, but there were both some typos and some formatting requirements, including non-bold type. The Court of Appeals held that if a facility doesn’t have this bold-faced language, then the arbitration agreement is not enforceable. It’s a very strict opinion, very protective of patient rights. The defendant seems to have understood that it needed to comply with the law, but just did a very poor job of it.
I hope that this helps anyone else with an arbitration agreement that is not strictly in compliance with the state statute. It’s a terrific opinion.