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IN THIS ISSUE

 
NEWSLETTER

Fall 2011

ARTICLES

PRESSURE ULCERS: AVOIDABLE OR UNAVOIDABLE?

Sammi L. Renken

Skin breakdown or pressure ulcers are a common topic in geriatric litigation across the country.  These cases are not just found in the realm of nursing home litigation.  At an increasing rate, plaintiff’s attorneys are filing wound cases against anyone who may have cared for the wound which can include:  long term care facilities, assisted- living facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home health providers and individual practitioners.  A common defense is that the wound was unavoidable due to the patient’s preexisting and declining medical condition.  The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory    Panel convened a consensus conference of the current leaders in the area of wounds and their findings were published this year.  The consensus panels’ final opinions support the argument that those of us defending wound-care litigation have been arguing for years, which is that many wounds are simply unavoidable despite good care.

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ARBITRATION AGREEMENT IN NURSING HOME CASE HELD INVALID BUT DOOR LEFT OPEN FOR FUTURE ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS TO BE UPHELD

Sammi L. Renken

On Aug. 18, 2011, the Fifth District Court of Appeals held that the arbitration agreement at issue in this Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and Wrongful Death case was invalid as it lacked mutuality making it unenforceable.  However, the court left the door open as to whether future arbitration agreements would be binding for cases brought under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.  Carter v. SSC Odin Operating Company, LLC, 2011 Il. App (5th) 070392B; 2011 Ill.App. LEXIS 890.

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TORT REFORM UPDATE: FLORIDA SUPREME COURT TO ADDRESS CONSTITUTIONALITY OF NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES CAP

Bree. M. Williams

In 2003, Florida enacted a tort reform statute (Fla. Stat. § 766.118) that limits certain damages awards against hospitals and physicians. For the first time since the enactment of the statute, the Florida Supreme Court will address the constitutionality of the statutory caps under Florida law.

The statute limits non-economic damages against practitioners, including physicians, to $500,000 per claimant, or $1 million for claims where the negligence resulted in death or a permanent vegetative state. This cap also applies to hospitals in cases where the hospitals’ liability is based solely on vicarious liability for the actions of a practitioner. The statute limits non-economic damages against nonpractitioners to $750,000 per claimant in cases involving non-catastrophic injuries; there is an aggregate cap of $1.5 million for claims where the negligence resulted in a permanent vegetative state or death.

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