After avoiding the issue for years, a 67 year old man knew it was time. He admitted his parents to a nursing home. According to him, the paperwork was simply “a little more than a formality.”

But that small formality is now part of a broader elder law issue that has stirred nationwide attention.

The basic facts are as follows: Three years after his mother was admitted, she was found dead in her room at the hands of a roommate.The roommate allegedly suffered from dementia and was a known risk to nursing home personnel.

The man immediately thought about filing a civil lawsuit against the facility for negligence. His mother’s nursing home contract, however, contained a clause that mandated all disputes go through private arbitration and outside of the traditional court system.

He discovered, however, that the arbitration firm handling the matter had represented the nursing home in thousands of other legal matters. As predicted, the arbitrator ruled in the home’s favor.

The case has gained widespread media attention across the nation, heightening awareness about nursing home contracts, inconspicuous arbitration and other clauses and the repercussions that could stem from them.

It’s certainly food-for-thought for those looking for nursing home facilities. Thoroughly reading the fine print-with the help of a legal professional-before signing on the dotted line is something to consider.