The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments in late February in a nursing home arbitration lawsuit that could alter the industry’s future, close observers said.

Kentucky’s Supreme Court sided with residents’ family members in Kindred Nursing Centers v. Clark, ruling that family members with power of attorney rights had not been granted permission to sign the agreements waiving trial rights on behalf of their loved ones. The case consolidates three wrongful death complaints.

The American Health Care Association called the Kentucky high court’s ruling “erroneous” in an August brief requesting U.S. Supreme Court review.

Long-term care providers have said the final decision could pose “a substantial threat to the long-term care industry,” according to a Bloomberg BNA report.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also submitted a friend of the court brief, calling arbitration “a fair, efficient and inexpensive alternative to litigation.”

Kindred was supported in a brief from a group of providers led by Genesis HealthCare.