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Blogs from November, 2014


All of us at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP would like to congratulate one of our partner attorneys, Kirsten M. Fish, on her award from Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC). Kirsten M. Fish is one of this year’s CAOC Street Fighters. This honorable position is awarded by the Consumer Attorneys of California to a “plaintiff’s lawyer who has litigated a case that creates a more just society.”*

We are proud to announce that Kirsten M. Fish won this distinction for her steadfast commitment to the rights of the elderly. Her work focused on the case of an 88-year-old client who was sexually assaulted and temporarily denied justice due to a grossly inappropriate arbitration provision. She worked with the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform to raise awareness for the unfair and unjust arbitration provisions in skilled nursing homes and promote the rejection of such provisions. Many people are unaware that while almost every nursing home has arbitration provisions, in California, you are not required to sign them. These arbitration provisions seek to prevent someone from bringing litigation against the nursing home.

However, litigation may be the only way to seek justice. That is what happened to Marilyn Young, 88-years-old. After she had suffered a stroke, she was recovering at the Horizon West skilled nursing facility in Monterey. When she moved in, her daughter signed an arbitration agreement which prevents in-court actions against the nursing home. Then tragedy struck; Marilyn Young was raped. All she remembered was a wet bed and a dark figure standing over her. She later found out that, as a result of the sexual assault, she contracted Genital Herpes. Regardless of how sickening this case was, Young and her family feared that they would not receive justice because of the arbitration agreement her daughter signed. Luckily, a skilled legal team which included Kirsten along with attorneys Kathryn Stebner and Valerie McGinty made a just case for Mrs. Young and convinced the court that the arbitration agreement did not apply in those circumstances.

Kirsten M. Fish is a partner at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, and her incredible work on this case and recognition by the California Attorneys of California is representative of the standard of social excellence that we strive for at this firm. Congratulations again to Kirsten M. Fish for being one of this year’s Consumer Attorney of California’s Street Fighters.