SANTA FE – The state Supreme Court today ruled that an Albuquerque nursing home’s arbitration agreement was invalid and unenforceable in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by a former resident’s family.

The agreement required mediation initially and then arbitration of all claims except those involving disputes over collection of money or discharge of patients. The arbitration agreement was part of the admission contract for residents of The Rehabilitation Center of Albuquerque, LLC.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court concluded that the agreement was “substantively unconscionable” and that the nursing home “failed to present evidence justifying the one-sidedness of the Agreement as fair and reasonable.”

The Court’s ruling upheld a district court’s order declining to compel arbitration. The case will return to the Second Judicial District Court for further proceedings in the lawsuit brought against the nursing home and other defendants by the estate of Beverly Peavy, who was a resident at the nursing home from 2007 until her death in 2010.

The arbitration agreement, according to the Court, allowed the nursing home to litigate in court the claims it likely would bring – those involving collections and discharge of residents – but required residents to resolve most of their disputes using a panel of three arbitrators.

“We conclude that under New Mexico conscionability law a presumption of unfair and unreasonable one-sidedness arises when a drafting party excludes its likeliest claims from arbitration, while mandating that the other party arbitrate its likeliest claims. This presumption stems from the lack of mutuality that correlates with overly one-sided contracts,” the Court said in an opinion written by Justice C. Shannon Bacon.

The Court continued: “We emphasize, however, that this presumption may be overcome by an evidentiary showing that justifies the one-sidedness of the arbitration agreement. In other words, a defendant drafter may offer evidence showing that an arbitration agreement’s exceptions are reasonable and fair, such that enforcement of the agreement is not substantively unconscionable.”

The justices clarified a two-step approach for trial courts to follow in cases involving arbitration agreements: First, analyzing the agreement to determine whether it is “facially one-sided” and second, if a judge determines the agreement is one-sided, allowing the drafter of the arbitration requirement to present evidence justifying that it is “fair and reasonable.”

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

FILLED: Classified for Silver City church seeking office manager. Check back often for new classifieds.

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as the editor.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds. Check periodically to see if any news ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. It's a software problem, not easily fixable, other than showing fewer articles per summary page. If you are a frequent visitor, you might not mind fewer articles per page, but if you only come once in a while, you likely want to see more articles to browse. Write me at editor@grantcountybeat.com to let me know your feelings on this issue. 

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include one about end of life options, Compassionate Care.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  


All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Newsletter: If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat. 

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com