Monday, January 16, 2023

Nursing Home Defendant Found To Have Waived Arbitration By Participating in Lawsuit Proceedings

In the case of Watson v. The Terrace at Chestnut Hill, Sept. Term 2020, No. 00101 (C.P. Phila. Co. Sept. 21, 2022 Shreeves-Johns, J.), the court addressed a Motion to Compel Arbitration in a nursing home case.

The court denied the nursing home’s Motion to Compel Arbitration given that the injured party was found to have waived their right to the arbitration agreement by engaging in the judicial process.

In this regard, the Plaintiffs filed a negligence lawsuit. Approximately nine (9) months after receiving the Complaint, the Defendants filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration, arguing that the arbitration clause in the contract between the parties mandated arbitration.

The court denied the motion on the grounds that the Defendant had waived its right to arbitration by engaging in a judicial process.

In so ruling, the court applied five (5) factors including whether the parties (1) failed to raise the issue of arbitration promptly, (2) engaged in discovery in the litigation, (3) filed pre-trial motions that do not raise the issue of arbitration, (4) waited for adverse rulings on pre-trial motions before asserting arbitration, or (5) waited until the case is ready for trial before a certain arbitration.

In this case, the court faulted the Defendant for not raising the issue of arbitration immediately but waiting until nine (9) months into the litigation, during which time the parties engaged in discovery. The court additionally found that the Defendant’s assertion that the reason for the delay, that is, that the Defendant was simply unaware of the arbitration agreement, was unavailing.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Jan. 3, 2023).

Source of image:  Photo by Eduardo Barrios on

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