Upon receiving direction from the Florida Supreme Court to reverse an earlier ruling upholding an arbitration agreement in a medical malpractice case, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal did just that, finding the defendant had not offered just cause as to why the agreement should be upheld.
The ruling in Brown v. North Florida Surgeons P.A. is important in that it underscores the fact that arbitration agreements between patients and doctors often reflect an imbalance of power, which could result in their being found unconscionable.
Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers know the key is showing the patient either didn’t sign the document knowingly or voluntarily. In many situations, patients are made to believe they have no choice but to sign, or be refused treatment. In other cases, the agreements are lumped in with boilerplate admissions paperwork, with the patient receiving no indication these are legal documents in which they are forfeiting their right to a jury trial, should something go wrong.