Arbitration Has Come to Senior Living. You Don’t Have to Sign Up. –

When Ms. Young signed her father’s agreement, her sister and brother-in-law were moving their father into his room. “It was very rushed,” she said. “I probably wasn’t in that office for 15 minutes.”

Nobody explained the 13-page residency agreement in detail, she said. Cody Dishon, the lawyer whom the Jinks family later retained, had to explain that her signature could preclude a court date.

“I can’t imagine any other constitutional right you can sign over without even knowing it’s happening,” Mr. Dishon said in an interview. “But courts are allowing consumers, without attorneys, to do this.”

Since 2019, Medicare regulations have prevented nursing homes from requiring arbitration for admission or residence. Yet “they’re still being included in admissions packets, and family members or residents are still being told, ‘Sign the papers,’” Ms. Smetanka said.

If they do sign, residents have 30 days in which to rescind their agreement to arbitration.

But assisted living, including memory care, is not federally regulated, so those rules don’t apply.

In July, when Mr. Dishon filed a gross negligence suit against Brookdale on behalf of the Jinks family, the company responded with a motion to compel arbitration.

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