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Nursing Home Chain Caught in Criminal Scheme

A Tennessee nursing home chain, National HealthCare Corp. (NHC), was recently involved in a scandal involving risky campaign schemes and malicious contracts with the elderly. According to reports, NHC has been forcing its elderly residents to sign contracts agreeing not to sue the company if something happens to them. Nursing home abuse lawyers at Pintas & Mullins highlight the effort to expose this chain and their inside operations.

The contracts NHC residents are forced to sign makes suing the company nearly impossible if they are victims of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment in the home. Instead, residents would go through a process known as ‘binding arbitration.’ This keeps any grievances out of the courts, where NHC has been subject to massive lawsuits in the past.

Arbitration is a process of ending legal disputes without going to trial. It involves an impartial third party designated to listen to both sides, including any evidence and testimony. Both sides agree in advance to comply with the arbitrator’s decision, which is typically final.

Not surprisingly, the Tennessee courts have frowned upon forcing elderly and sick residents to essentially sign away their legal rights so they can have a bed at a nursing home, calling the practice “unconscionable.”

Nursing Homes, Judges, and Political Schemes

NHC has been slammed with many nursing home neglect and abuse cases in Tennessee and the courts have sided primarily with the injured plaintiffs. Politico recently published an exclusive article on the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) and its involvement with a criminal campaign scheme. The RSLC is one of the most influential right wing players, spending tens of millions of dollars to sway elections in their favor.

The scheme is like something out of House of Cards, involving risky political schemes that prompted criminal penalties and “threatening the organization’s continued existence,” according to a 2011 internal report. The report was a result of an investigation into misconduct by RSLC officials during the 2010 elections, and published by the esteemed Washington law firm BakerHostetler.

Investigators accused Alabama RSLC members of laundering dirty money from the Native American gambling industry, by routing it into Tennessee and back in to Alabama. So, how does this connect to the NHC’s binding arbitration clause? In April 2014, the Tennessee Lt. Governor Ramsey publically admitted that NHC officials were involved in plans to oust three Democratic Tennessee Supreme Court judges.

Ramsey’s office confirmed that it believed Tennessee needed new judges on the state’s Supreme Court, citing the NHC’s arbitration clause as proof. When conservative judges launched their campaigns for Court positions, their campaigns were financed by the RSLC. To date, the organization has spent about $200,000 on this campaign, suggesting that officials find it completely acceptable to buy courts and judges. Ramsey was explicit in stating that he wanted the RLSC to be involved with the courts.

Replacing three Democratic judges with conservatives would negatively impact injured plaintiffs throughout the state, from medical malpractice victims to elderly nursing home residents. A group established by the Koch Brothers has also given a substantial amount to ousting the Democratic justices.

Our team of nursing home abuse experts has been fighting on behalf of elderly victims for over three decades. We know exactly how political clout and big-business ethical practices can negatively impact the health and livelihood of our loved ones. If you suspect abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of any kind at a nursing home, contact our firm immediately. For-profit nursing home chains are significantly more likely to cause harm to patients. Do not hesitate to call – it is always free and confidential.