A specter is haunting consumer contracts. In the last few years, there has been a veritable explosion of forced arbitration clauses thrust into contracts in industries ranging from banking to insurance, medical to retirement care. GrubHub food delivery service just updated their user agreement to force their customers into mandatory arbitration over any disputes that might arise as a result of their using the service to get Chicken Masala or local pizza. This routine addition to many companies’ dealings with customers has resulted in the deprivation of consumers’ basic constitutional rights, as these forced arbitration agreements require individuals to give up certain fundamental legal protections, including the right to a fair court trial in front of a neutral judge.
The New York Times continues its extraordinary series on forced arbitration in the U.S. and how contracts mandating arbitration in place of a hearing in a courtroom are stripping us of our most basic rights. The most recent piece, “Pivotal Nursing Home Suit Raises a Simple Question: Who Signed the Contract?” addresses the plight of a family whose matriarch was murdered in her nursing home by her patient-roomate, but who cannot get justice or any accountability by the nursing home.
“In recent years, America’s corporations have created a private system for handling disputes that benefits them greatly while denying consumers their day in court.” So states the Editorial Board of The New York Times in a follow-up to their groundbreaking three-part expose on forced arbitration clauses shunting consumer disputes into often-unbalanced negotiation outside any court of law. [Read more…]
In the final installment of the New York Times groundbreaking three-part series on forced arbitration, the paper found that as companies increasingly use forced arbitration agreements to restrict consumer rights, religion is not exempt from the alternate-to-justice arbitration process. [Read more…]
As reported in the Daily Journal, on October 7, 2015, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a proposal that would bar class waivers as a way to regulate forced arbitration clauses in contracts. Lieff Cabraser attorney Elizabeth J. Cabraser commented on the issue, noting that the new CFPB proposal is “pro-consumer,” since the arbitration clauses that block group lawsuits would be banned. [Read more…]
The New York Times continues its expose on #ForcedArbitration. Over the last 10 years thousands of US businesses have used arbitration to create an alternate system of justice. “There, rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients.” [Read more…]
In the first of a series of pieces subtitled “Beware the Fine Print,” the New York Times has published an article investigating the rampant practice of forced arbitration, “a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations” to restrict the rights of consumers. As the Times noted, “By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies [have] devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.” [Read more…]