The Florida Supreme Court late last month ruled in favor of a plaintiff fighting the enforcement of an arbitration agreement following a dispute regarding the care of her infant son, who was stillborn.
In the case of Hernandez v. Crespo, the state high court ruled the arbitration agreement between the child’s mother and the women’s clinic from which she was receiving treatment was invalid. Had the court upheld the agreement as binding, plaintiff would have been forced to handle her dispute through a private arbitration process, rather than the public courts.
Given that there are many downsides to the arbitration process for plaintiffs, this ruling is likely to have a positive effect for medical malpractice plaintiffs in Florida. Arbitration agreements have become the center of numerous types of civil disputes, from nursing home abuse to product liability. Companies are increasingly requiring customers enter into these agreements that are often unfair. In many cases, customers (or in this case, patients,) may not understand what exactly they are giving up. Continue reading →