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Will Dems Ban Mandatory Consumer/Employee Arbitration?

This just in on the same day I attended the AAA's Expedited Case training.  As an ADR practitioner I favor party "choice and voice" in all dispute resolution venues, meaning that I frown on adhesion contracts of all types, including those that are unfairly imposed upon consumers and employees.  The devil in the detail, of course, is the meaning of the term "unfairly."  I am unfamiliar with the proposed law subject of this article and neither support nor oppose it.  Just keeping my readers informed.

Democratic Party control could ban mandatory arbitration, expert says


Jan Dennis, Business & Law Editor
217-333-0568; jdennis@illinois.edu

Click photo to enlarge
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Michael LeRoy, a professor of law and of labor and employment relations, says Democratic Party control in Washington could restore lawsuits as an option for workers and consumers now forced to settle disputes through mandatory arbitration that gives employers and businesses an unfair edge.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Democratic Party control in Washington could restore lawsuits as an option for workers and consumers now forced to settle disputes through mandatory arbitration that gives employers and businesses an unfair edge, a University of Illinois labor law expert says.

Michael LeRoy predicts a bill sponsored by Democrats that would bar companies from imposing arbitration will likely be approved next year when Democrats take over the White House and add to their majorities in Congress.

The measure, introduced last year but stalled by the prospect of a Bush administration veto, would halt a shift that has grown since a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing firms to require arbitration rather than courts to resolve disputes, he said.
For full article click here.

Here's the summary of the bill courtesy of the Consumerist:

Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 - Declares that no predispute arbitration agreement shall be valid or enforceable if it requires arbitration of: (1) an employment, consumer, or franchise dispute, or (2) a dispute arising under any statute intended to protect civil rights or to regulate contracts or transactions between parties of unequal bargaining power.

Declares, further, that the validity or enforceability of an agreement to arbitrate shall be determined by a court, under federal law, rather than an arbitrator, irrespective of whether the party resisting arbitration challenges the arbitration agreement specifically or in conjunction with other terms of the contract containing such agreement.

Exempts arbitration provisions in collective bargaining agreements from this Act.

Comments (3)

Read through and enter the discussion by using the form at the end
Dan Schwartz - November 17, 2008 10:49 PM

The Arbitration Fairness Act seems like one of those bills destined to be discussed but I can't imagine that it will go anywhere in the first 6 months. There is just too much on Congress' plate and it could be controversial. While the Dems may want to pick some fights, there doesn't seem to be a big constituency (perhaps other than trial lawyers) who will really push this through.

Vickie - November 17, 2008 11:38 PM

Thanks for dropping by to comment Dan. My arbitration training today made me re-re-consider my many decisions to resist arbitration during a 25-year litigation career.

My arbitrator friends (some of whom I've joined on arbitration panels) are the most impressive hearing officers of any I've been privileged to litigate and try cases before.

Still, I understand attorney fears of no appeal -- which STILL would deter me. Otherwise, I'm becoming a big arbitration fan.

Melaine - December 10, 2013 6:16 PM

Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is analyzing
such things, thus I am going to convey her.

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