Articles Posted in Health Law

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In this complaint filed against Robinson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC and related entities (collectively, Robinson), the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order granting class certification in part and reversed it in part. Andrew Phillips filed a first amended class-action complaint challenging Robinson’s business practice of chronic understaffing. Robinson appealed the order granting class certification, arguing that Phillips did not meet his burden of proving commonality, predominance, typicality, and superiority, and that the class definition was overbroad. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) properly granted class certification as to Phillips’s claims of breach of contract, Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), and unjust enrichment; and (2) abused its discretion in certifying the class action as to Phillips’s negligence claim. View "Robinson Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Phillips" on Justia Law

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On July 7, 2016, the Secretary of State certified that The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act had met the constitutional signature requirements in order to place the proposed initiated act on the Arkansas general election ballot of November 8, 2016. Dr. Melanie Conway, both individually and on behalf of Arkansas Against Legalized Marijuana, brought this original action challenging the legal sufficiency of the Act’s ballot title. Arkansas for Compassionate Care 2016 successfully moved to intervene in the action in support of the Act’s ballot title. The Supreme Court denied Conway’s petition, holding that Conway did not meet her burden of proving that the ballot title was legally insufficient. View "Conway v. Martin" on Justia Law

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The circuit court granted Janet Autry’s petition to be appointed temporary guardian of Louise Sheperd. Pam and Don Beckham were allowed to intervene. The circuit court appointed the Beckhams guardians of Sheperd and First Community Bank of Searcy as the guardian of Sheperd’s estate. The court of appeals reversed. Before the mandate issued, Timothy Whaley filed an ex parte petition to be appointed temporary guardian and permanent guardian of Sheperd. Before the circuit court took action, the Beckhams filed another petition to intervene and for appointment as guardians. The circuit court denied Whaley’s motion to dismiss the Beckhams’ motion to intervene, granted the Beckhams’ intervention, and reappointed the Beckhams as temporary guardians of the person of Sheperd and First Community Bank as guardian of the estate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in denying Whaley’s motion to dismiss the Beckhams’ motion for leave to intervene in the probate proceedings. View "Whaley v. Beckham" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, three Arkansas corporations that operate private hospitals in the state, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment seeking a judgment declaring the Arkansas Peer Review Fairness Act unconstitutional. The circuit court ruled that the Act is not unconstitutional. Defendants - the Attorney General, the Arkansas Department of Health, and Nathaniel Smith - appealed, arguing that there was no actual, present controversy in this case because there was no present danger or dilemma. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that this was not a proper declaratory judgment action because the necessary element of a justiciable controversy was lacking in this case. View "Baptist Health Sys. v. Rutledge" on Justia Law

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Appellant petitioned the circuit court to obtain permanent guardianship over her father, Appellee, alleging that Appellee suffered from mental incapacity and was unable to provide for his health, maintenance, and safety. The circuit court dismissed the petition, concluding that Appellant failed to comply with Ark. Code Ann. 28-65-211(b)(2) because she failed to put forth a professional evaluation from a member of the medical staff of Conway Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (CHRC), where Appellee was located at the time of trial. Appellant appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in finding that CHRC is an institution for treatment of mental or nervous diseases, and consequently, Appellant was not required to present testimony or a sworn written statement regarding Appellee’s incapacity by a professional on the medical staff of CHRC. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, for the purposes of section 28-65-211(b)(2), CHRC is not an institution for the treatment of mental or nervous diseases, and therefore, the circuit court erred in concluding that Appellant was required to present testimony or a sworn written statement by a qualified professional on the medical staff of CHRC. View "Hale v. Coffman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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Appellants were twelve nursing-home facilities doing business as Golden Living Centers in cities throughout Arkansas as well as related entities and individuals serving in leadership positions. Appellees, former residents of the nursing homes or their special administrators, guardians, or attorneys-in-fact, brought this class-action suit alleging that Appellants failed properly to staff the facilities and failed to meet minimum staffing requirements. Appellees brought claims for breach of contract and violations of the Arkansas Long-Term Residents’ Rights Act (Residents’ Rights Act) and the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). the circuit court entered an order granting class certification of the three claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellees met their burden of proving the predominance of common issues; (2) the class action approach was a superior method for resolving the question of Appellants’ liability; and (3) the class definition was sufficiently definite and precise. View "GGNSC Arkadelphia LLC v. Lamb" on Justia Law

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The special administrator of the Estate of W.C. Chappel filed an action on behalf of herself and other members of a class of similarly situated persons (collectively, Appellees) alleging claims of negligence and wrongful death against GGNSC Holdings, LLC, related corporate entities, several of GGNSC’s nursing-facility centers, and employees of GGNSC or one of its related entities (collectively, Appellants). Specifically, Appellees alleged that Appellants failed to properly care for patients in GGNSC’s nursing facilities. Appellants filed motions to compel arbitration, alleging that any claims by Appellees were barred from being litigated because of arbitration agreements that were signed by the residents or their authorized agents. The circuit court denied the motions, concluding that there was a lack of authority to bind Appellees to the arbitration agreements and that the agreements were unconscionable. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in failing to expressly rule on the threshold issue of whether there was a valid agreement to arbitrate. Remanded. View "GGNSC Holdings LLC v. Chappel" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Injury Law

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Theresa Holbrook requested her medical records from Millard Henry Clinic. Healthport, Inc., a private company that had a contract with Millard Henry Clinic to fulfill such requests, obtained copies of Holbrook’s requested medical records. Healthport subsequently sent Holbrook invoices for the records, including sales tax. Holbrook, individually and on behalf of all other Arkansans similarly situated, filed a class-action complaint seeking damages and requesting that the court find, inter alia, that Healthport illegally collected sales taxes for retrieving and copying her medical records. Holbrook later filed an amended complaint containing allegations against the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. The circuit court granted Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment and denied Holbrook’s motion for partial summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in determining that the gross-receipts-tax statute imposes a sales tax on a patient’s ability to obtain a copy of the patient’s own medical records; and (2) the Arkansas Access to Medical Records Act does not exempt a patient’s request for copies of the patient’s medical information from any otherwise applicable tax or charge. View "Holbrook v. Healthport, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 1993, Appellants developed Risperdal, a second-generation, or atypical, antipsychotic medication, which was considered highly beneficial in treating schizophrenia patients. In 2007, the State filed suit against Appellants, alleging that Appellants (1) knowingly made false statements or representations of material fact in their Risperdal label in violation of the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act (“MFFCA”); and (2) violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“DTPA”) by distributing a promotional letter to Arkansas healthcare providers that contained “false, deceptive, or unconscionable statements.” A jury found that Janssen violated the MFFCA and the DTPA by failing to comply with federal labeling requirements and imposed civil penalties totaling $11,422,500. The Supreme Court (1) reversed and dismissed the MFFCA claim, as Appellants were not healthcare facilities or applying for certification as described by the statute; and (2) reversed and remanded the DTPA claim, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in admitting certain hearsay into evidence. View "Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharms., Inc. v. State" on Justia Law

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Decedent became a resident of Golden Living Center, a nursing home, in 2009. Later that year, Courtyard Gardens took over ownership and operation of the facility. Thereafter, Decedent's son, Ronald Quarles signed a new admission agreement and optional arbitration agreement. In 2011, Kenny Quarles, another of Decedent's sons acting as power of attorney, filed an amended complaint against Courtyard Gardens and other entities associated with it and the Center, seeking damages for negligence, medical malpractice, and violations of the Arkansas Long-Term Care Residents' Act. Courtyard Gardens filed a motion to dismiss and compel arbitration. The circuit court denied Courtyard Garden's motion to compel arbitration, concluding that questions of fact remained regarding Ronald's authority to bind Decedent to the arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the motion to compel arbitration, holding that there was no valid arbitration agreement as a matter of law because Ronald had neither actual authority nor statutory authority to enter into the arbitration agreement on Decedent's behalf. View "Courtyard Gardens Health & Rehab., LLC v. Quarles" on Justia Law