Why don’t Virginia nursing homes give up? Virginia courts do not like enforcing mandatory arbitration agreements contained in nursing home admission contracts. You know…the language which says the nursing home can sue you for failing to pay your charges but if the nursing home staff drops you and breaks your hip you cannot hold the facility accountable in court.

The recent case comes to us from Williamsburg, Virginia. Lorina Wiggins was admitted to Ruxton Health Nursing Home in 2007. The admission agreement, which contained the mandatory arbitration clause, was signed by one of Mrs. Wiggins’ sons. The son was not the legal guardian for his mother nor was he her Power of Attorney.

As a result of poor care received at the facility, another son (Bob Wiggins, Jr.) sued Ruxton Health for negligence. Ruxton responded with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit because of the agreement to arbitrate, signed by the other son.

The judge ruled the plaintiff (Bob Wiggins, Jr.) was not bound by a nursing home admission agreement signed by a family member who was not a guardian and had no power of attorney for the patient.

My Take: Nursing homes need to stop trying to take advantage of the elderly.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at