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Florida Supreme Court ruled that a doctor’s Arbitration Agreement was unconscionable and violated public policy

In Franks vs. Bowers, SC11-1258, the Florida Supreme Court found that the damages clause of the arbitration provision of the doctor’s Financial Agreement violated the public policy pronounced by the Legislature in the Medical Malpractice Act (MMA), and found that because the offensive clause was not severable from the remainder of the arbitration provision, the Court quashed the lower court decision below compelling arbitration under the agreement with direction for the court to proceed under the guidelines provided in chapter 766, Florida Statutes.

The Court reasoned that “[i]n contravention to the carefully crafted statutory scheme set forth in chapter 766, the Financial Agreement under review requires the patient to arbitrate his or her claims in exchange for absolutely nothing in return-no elimination of the risk of not recovering any damages through the defendant’s admission of liability, no guarantee of a reduction in the expenses inherent in proving a medical malpractice claim, and no assurance that the dispute will be resolved quickly-while still subjecting the patient to the cap on damages. This result is contrary to the public policy of Florida, as expressed in the Medical Malpractice Statute.”

Fri Aug 24, 5:26pm

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