We have blogged many times in this spot about the negative impact of arbitration clauses on consumers’ right to a trial by jury. In a recent article in The Hill, Lydia Wheeler reports that congressional Democrats “are calling on regulators to protect consumers’ right to settle disputes with companies in court.” Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) “joined legal experts with the American Association for Justice on Monday to highlight a New York Times investigation that found more and more companies are stripping consumers of the ability to file class-action lawsuits.” According to the Times report, “companies have devised a way to circumvent the courts through arbitration clauses.” The clauses “typically state that disputes about a product can only be resolved by privately appointed individuals or arbitrators, rather than through the court system, and bar consumers from bringing group claims through the arbitration process. ‘These dishonest agreements force consumers to unknowingly give away their rights,’ said Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice. ‘Arbitrators are not required to follow the law and their decisions are almost impossible to appeal.’”
The full article in The Hill can be read here.
The New York Times report can be read here.