Reed v. Heritage Park of Savannah
Defense Victory With Award of Attorney’s Fees In Nursing Home Arbitration
In a resounding victory for nursing home operators, an arbitrator in
The claimants, the family of a nursing home resident, alleged that the nursing home staff negligently treated the resident, causing her death. But the arbitrator ruled that the respondent, Heritage Healthcare of Savannah, provided good care to the resident and that she simply died of natural causes.
Jason Bring and Robert Strang of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP defended the nursing home defendants in the three day arbitration hearing. â€œThese cases are always hard fought,â€ said Mr. Bring, â€œbut we had a good strategy to defend the case, and we believed the claims were not based on any reasonable interpretation of the evidence.â€ Regarding the award of attorneyâ€™s fees to the defendants, Mr. Bring stated, â€œThe attorneyâ€™s fees represented a major victory for the defendants, and their award demonstrates that these cases are not without risk for the plaintiffs.â€
The residentâ€™s family originally sued in the State Court of Chatham County, Georgia. The nursing home responded by filing suit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina to enforce the partiesâ€™ arbitration agreement, and the District Court entered a consent judgment compelling arbitration. â€œWe were particularly proud of this unique strategy, which allowed the issue of arbitrability under the Federal Arbitration Act to be presented to a federal judge,â€ said Mr. Bring.
The certified nursing assistant who alleged the wrongdoing claimed that the residentâ€™s ventilator was not operating prior to her death and that the nursing home then engaged in a conspiracy to cover-up the residentâ€™s death. The arbitrator determined that the claimants did not meet their burden of proof in establishing these claims. â€œShe simply wasnâ€™t credible,â€ said Mr. Strang, â€œespecially when balanced against our defense witnesses who all did a great job.â€