Judge Asked To Put Ruling In Nursing Home Case On Hold

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A judge is being asked to hold off enforcement of a ruling he issued that cleared the way for a lawsuit to proceed against Hickory Creek Nursing Center in The Plains.

An attorney who represents Hickory Creek and other defendants in the case argues the ruling should be put on hold while they appeal it to the 4th District Court of Appeals.

Last month, Judge L. Alan Goldsberry denied Hickory Creek Nursing Center's motion to compel that the issues raised in the lawsuit go to arbitration.

John Primmer of Albany filed the lawsuit in January claiming the nursing home was negligent in caring for him, causing him “to lose his personal dignity and (causing) extreme and unnecessary pain, degradation, anguish and emotional trauma.”

Primmer was 66 years old when he was admitted to Hickory Creek and was a resident from September 2012 to Jan. 8, 2013. The nursing home and other defendants filed a response denying the allegations of the lawsuit.

In February, the defendants asked Goldsberry to stay the case and require that it go to arbitration. Primmer’s daughter — who was his health care power of attorney — signed an arbitration agreement at the time he was admitted to the facility. The agreement provides that disputes go to binding arbitration, and includes a waiver of the right to trial in court for any legal claims against the facility.

Last month, Goldsberry ruled that the power of attorney only authorized the daughter to make health-care decisions and did not give her authority to sign the arbitration agreement and waive Primmer's right to go to court.

Goldsberry noted that the arbitration agreement was a separate document, and signing it was optional and not required for admission to Hickory Creek.