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How Arbitration Steals Your Day In Court

MSNBC correspondent Bob Sullivan has a new article at his blog, The Red Tape Chronicles, entitled “How Arbitration Steals Your Day In Court.”  The introduction is telling:

If I told you there was a courtroom in America where consumers lose lawsuits to businesses 94 percent of the time, and there is no chance to appeal, you’d probably never want to go there.

But here’s the problem: You don’t have a choice, thanks to small print.

Many of the facts from the article from from a report by Public Citizen.  One the of the many startling findings as that:

Public Citizen found one arbitrator had ruled 1,292 times during the span — and only 21 times for the consumer. On one particularly busy day, he ruled on 68 cases — all in favor of companies.

Fortunately, there are currently Congressional proposes to reign in arbitration abuses.  Earlier this year, Senate Democrats introduced the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007.  It is currently under debate.

As for us, we continue to think that arbitration is appropriate in many cases.  But parties can’t know whether arbitration is an appropriate remedy until they look at individual disputes.  As a result, we’re opposed to mandatory arbitration agreements, but do support arbitrating some cases as the disputes warrant.

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