Ashley Brittain


The issue before the Missouri Supreme Court in Lawrence H was whether an arbitration agreement signed on behalf of a nursing home resident is binding on plaintiffs in a wrongful death action against the nursing home. Beverly Manor argued that the court's decision in Burns "undercut" the cases holding that a wrongful death claim is a new and independent cause of action. However, the court disagreed that the Burns decision overturned such precedent. The court admitted that the language of Burns may seem to create ambiguity about whether wrongful death is a derivative claim but clarified that the Burns holding is limited to the issue of venue. On January 13, 2009, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court, holding that a wrongful death cause of action is a new and independent claim rather than a derivative claim, though, in accordance with Burns, a wrongful death claim is treated differently for venue purposes.



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