A nursing home that allegedly killed one of its residents will have to defend itself in court, and not before a secret arbitral panel, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled today, adopting arguments made by CCL.

“This is another good decision saying that nursing homes cannot bury their dead in private,” said CCL attorney John Vail, counsel for plaintiffs in the case.

While numerous issues were before the Court, it focused on one narrow one:  whether the unavailability of the discredited National Arbitration Forum (NAF) rendered the arbitration agreement unenforceable. 

The agreement in question did not designate NAF as the arbitrator, but it did require that NAF’s rules be used in any arbitration.  CCL pointed out that the NAF rules provided that no one but NAF was allowed to use them, and that therefore there was no difference between this agreement and one that did designate NAF. 

The NM Supreme Court already had held that an agreement designating NAF as arbitrator was unenforceable because they had agreed with the Minnesota Attorney General not to administer consumer arbitrations after the Attorney General charged NAF with running a biased arbitral scheme. 

Dusti Miller and Jennifer Foote of the Miller Law Firm in Albuquerque are co-counsel on the case.