LOCATION: Marmet Health Care Center
DOCKET NO.: 11-391
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2010-2016)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
CITATION: 565 US (2012)
GRANTED: Feb 21, 2012
DECIDED: Feb 21, 2012
Facts of the case
These are two consolidated case involving negligence suits against nursing homes in West Virginia. In both cases, the children of nursing home patients signed an agreement with the nursing home requiring arbitration for any disputes. In both cases, the patients died under the nursing homes’ care and the children sued in state court for negligence. The trial court dismissed both suits because of the arbitration agreements. The Supreme Court of West Virginia reversed, holding that the forcing arbitration for personal injury and wrongful death cases violated public policy. The court also held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) did not preempt state public policy despite recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent to the contrary.
Did the state court err when it held that the arbitration clauses were invalid due to public policy?