The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today vacated a lower court’s order to compel arbitration in a nursing home case.  In this case, the estate of a nursing home resident sued the home for negligence that allegedly caused the resident’s death.  The nursing home sought to enforce an arbitration agreement executed by the resident’s wife as his health care agent.   The Massachusetts high court said that no language in the health care proxy statute gives a patient’s health care agent “authority over any decision other than medical treatment” which directly involves the provision of “medical services, procedures, or treatment of the [patient’s] physical or mental condition.”  Further that statute reflects no intent to allow the health care agent to waive a [patient’s] right of access to the courts and to trial by jury by agreeing to binding arbitration.”

The plaintiffs in Johnson v. Kindred Healthcare, Inc., were represented by former CCL attorney John Vail and by David J. Hoey of North Reading, MA.