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Lori Semlies focuses on the defense of medical and nursing home malpractice claims in both state and federal courts, including all phases of litigation through trial. She has handled appeals in the New York Appellate Division, First and Second Departments, and before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Lori also defends general negligence cases as well as trip and falls, motor vehicle accidents and equipment malfunctions.

I vividly recall attending the Bronx Bar Association Dinner last fall when it was announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would ban pre-dispute arbitration provisions in nursing home admission agreements as of November 28, 2016. This news was relayed to me by a Bronx Supreme Court judge who had denied my very first motion to compel arbitration under such a provision. That denial ultimately was reversed on appeal.
Continue Reading Ding Dong the Arbitration Ban Is Dead!

A cropped shot of an elderly woman sitting at a table and signing a document

As anticipated, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released new regulations addressing the use of arbitration agreements in nursing home admission agreements applicable to facilities that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs. However, the scope has far exceeded what was expected. The proposed regulations only sought to ban mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of admission. The actual regulations prohibit “pre-dispute” arbitration agreements instead.
Continue Reading Is This the End of Arbitration in Nursing Home Litigation?

151002-Professional-Liability-BlogImagev3Quasi Tort Reform in Nursing Home Litigation Is on the Way!

Last fall, I posted a blog about the national trend of including arbitration provisions in nursing home admission agreements. This trend peaked following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Marmet Health Care Center v. Brown, 132 S.Ct. 1201 (2012), in which the Court determined that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts any state law or public policy limiting arbitration, holding that the language in the Act did not limit its application to non–personal injury disputes. The only remaining issue is whether contracts requiring arbitration, like any other contracts, are procedurally and substantively enforceable under New York contract laws. Continue Reading Arbitration of Nursing Home Suits: Take Two

3D printing headAdvances in medical technology have made it possible to interpret x-rays from half way around the world, perform surgery through robots and diagnose dermatological conditions via Skype. Today we are on the cusp of further developments that will allow medical technicians to use 3D printers to generate medical devices, prosthetic limbs, and body parts and organs. While the technology is moving forward rapidly, the societal, ethical and legal debates are only beginning and will need to catch up quickly.

Additives manufacturing or process, a.k.a. 3D printing, provides a method for an object designed on a computer to be “printed” in plastic in a three-dimensional form. I read about this technology in a New York Times story about a new way to manufacture guns to get them past airport security. While this concept is certainly scary, there are obvious potential benefits from this technology in many fields, including the possibility of one of the greatest impacts on the medical community in history.

Continue Reading 3D Printing in Medicine – Now?

MedicalPolicy_nursinghomes_ProfLiab504736759In response to increasing runaway verdicts with large awards for punitive damages, many nursing homes are including arbitration clauses in their admission agreements. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Marmet Health Care Center v. Brown, 132 S.Ct. 1201 (Feb. 2012), held that these agreements are enforceable because the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts both state laws and judicially established public policies that prohibit contracts that require arbitration to resolve personal injury lawsuits. The only exceptions are if the party seeking to enforce the agreement took advantage of the other or the terms are so one-sided that the clause is “unconscionable.”

The issue of enforceability of the contract, however, is deferred to the state courts to apply their own contract principles and laws to determine if the contract between the nursing home and the patient is so unconscionable it cannot be enforced under the FAA.
Continue Reading Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Home Admission Agreements