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Contact Congress: Arbitration Fairness Now!
News Reports: Senate Passes Franken Binding Arbitration Amendment  
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Contracts & Arbitration
The Times of Trenton Op-Ed - Binding Arbitration
Wednesday, 26 November 2008

America's access to justice at risk
America was founded by people who understood that power unchecked is power abused. That's why we have, among other things, separation of powers, the Bill of Rights, and the right to a day in court. For several years now, however, many of those with power -- in both the public and private sectors -- have had few restraints.

Anguish of Binding Mandatory Arbitration May Soon Become Abuse of the Past
Friday, 21 November 2008

Democrats May Shelve Mandatory Arbitration
Democratic Party control of both Congress and the White House, a University of Illinois labor law expert thinks the arbitration clause could become a thing of the past. Michael LeRoy predicts a bill sponsored by Democrats that would bar companies from imposing arbitration will likely be approved early next year when Democrats take over the White House and add to their majorities in Congress...Arbitration would remain an option to settle disputes, but would be voluntary rather than mandatory under the proposed Arbitration Fairness Act, sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.

Federal Arbitration Bill on the move
Monday, 10 November 2008

Change Coming in Key Areas of Law
Bills to eliminate predispute binding arbitration have been gaining momentum, said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, adding, "Binding arbitration in consumer contracts affects such a broad swath of people. Those bills were doing quite well, but we'll see better prospects in an administration that isn't going to veto them, and one of the bills was introduced by Senator Obama." His opponent in that battle agrees that eliminating mandatory arbitration will be a Democratic priority.

Forbes on the Injustice of Binding Arbitration
Friday, 31 October 2008

Don't Cry For Justice
Securities attorney Jonathan Kord Lagemann starts off today's Forbes.com Investor Team discussion with a harsh accusation against the securities industry. His clients are not investing, he says, because they know that if they need to go to arbitration they stand virtually no chance of recovering any of their losses, even if there's fraud or mismanagement involved... Seventy-one percent of customers in arbitration reported that they weren't satisfied with the outcome, and 65% believed the process was unfair. Fifty percent think they'd have gotten a different result if they had gone to court rather than arbitration, and of those who had taken separate cases to court rather than to arbitration, 76% said arbitrations were either very or somewhat unfair.

10,000 Strong Grassroots Effort to Stop Binding Arbitration
Wednesday, 01 October 2008

Group hopes to bring issue to voters next year after registrar officials verify signatures
Nearly 10,000 city residents signed a petition supporting a provision to remove forced contract mediation and binding arbitration from the city's charter, said one member of the group leading the charge. The group, calling itself the Committee to Remove Binding Arbitration from Vallejo Charter, had until early next month to secure about 7,000 valid resident signatures. Committee members say binding arbitration takes decisions out of local lawmakers' hands and, in effect, holds a "hammer over the city." "Binding arbitration has been one of the forces that has cost the city of Vallejo a lot of money over the years," said Libien, a petition author.

Binding Arbitration Ruling Called a Victory for Consumers
Friday, 29 August 2008

AT&T can't force customer arbitration
The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that AT&T couldn't compel a customer to resolve his dispute through arbitration, allowing him to pursue a class-action lawsuit against the telecommunications company. "It is an enormous victory for the consumers in this case," said Paul Bland, one of the plaintiff's attorneys with Public Justice in Washington, D.C. "It's an extremely important case not only for consumers in Washington but throughout the country."  Michael McKee of East Wenatchee filed a class-action suit against AT&T Corp. in 2003, alleging that it wrongly charged him and others for city utility surcharges and usurious late fees.

Builders/Remodeler Contract Advice to Protect Profits
Thursday, 14 August 2008

Write a Better Contract - With proper contractor language, remodelers can save thousands 
These contract provisions won’t cost the remodeler anything to place in his/her contract but they will almost virtually guarantee the remodeler that no unexpected issues that develop will cost him/her any of their expected profits...  Editor’s note: Stay tuned to future law columns in BUILDERnews for more on contract provisions, such as hidden issues and dispute resolution, both of which can help you retain profits and minimize disputes with clients...Drumming up business:
Peter G. Merrill is president and CEO of Construction Dispute Resolution Services LL C, an NAHB Executive Board member and past president of the New Mexico Home Builders Association. He received Builder of the Year and Remodeler of the Year awards...

Abusive Brinding Arbitration, Losses on Mortgage Loans & Credit Card Games
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The outrage in your credit card's fine print
Would you sign a contract that says, "Any term can be changed at any time for any reason, including no reason"? Anyone who uses a credit card already has. Such are the absurd terms of the consumer credit-card industry, which is poised to be the next big crisis (after housing) that banks have aided and abetted in US households... Banks in the card game are raising rates and fees to limit their losses on mortgage loans they made. This is doubly ironic, since their delusional lending and exotic mortgage cocktails gave the housing bubble its irrational effervescence to begin with. So now millions of American households are being dragged under even further.

Binding Arbitration - Should Congress Regulate Credit Cards
Monday, 11 August 2008

Parade: Don't Get Clobbered By Credit Cards!
When a credit-card company claims you owe money, your legal rights are limited. At least 75% of cards have clauses that say disputes must be resolved in private arbitration forums, according to a recent survey. So when a disagreement arises, a consumer can’t take it to court—a serious issue if you’re a victim of identity theft or, like Troy T. Cornock of Hillsborough , N.H. , you simply don’t owe the money. Cornock was hit with a $9446.85 judgment for money he claimed was owed by his ex-wife, who had opened an account in his name. It’s only because the creditor went to court to enforce the arbiter’s award that Cornock—after five agonizing years—was able to get the ruling overturned. The banking industry defends mandatory arbitration as a fair and efficient way to handle disputes. However, a study by the consumer group Public Citizen of 34,000 California cases found that consumers lost to companies in arbitration proceedings 96% to 99% of the time. So is there hope? The laws may soon be on your side. Until then, think twice before you whip out a card.

Senate Committee Hearing on Binding Arbitration and Supreme Court Favoring Big Business
Thursday, 24 July 2008

Senators Question "Pro-Business" Supreme Court Rulings
The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday questioned a series of Supreme Court decisions that Democrats on the panel said were unfair to workers and individual citizens who were damaged by big business. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., faulted the court for slashing the punitive damages awarded against Exxon for the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He also spoke out against decisions upholding provisions requiring debtors to submit to mandatory binding arbitration and a ruling that barring investors and pension funds from suing accounting firms that "facilitated fraud" in cases like the Enron collapse. When the court upheld contracts requiring credit card holders to submit to arbitration of disputes, Bartholet said the court forced them into a system rigged in favor of the corporations who select and pay for the arbitration process.  She said that even though she ruled in favor of credit card companies virtually all of the time when she worked as an arbitrator for the National Arbitration Forum, she was blacklisted after a single case in which she ruled for a consumer who had filed a counterclaim against his creditor.

Arbitration Bills Making Progress in Congress
Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Proposed Legislation Aims to Curb Mandatory Clauses in Contracts
The ongoing Democratic-led battle against the rise of mandatory arbitration agreements has gained momentum in the last week despite the efforts of business groups to defend their use.  Last week, the House of Representatives' Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law approved three arbitration-related bills, including one - the Arbitration Fairness Act - that would ban pre-dispute mandatory arbitration outright. The other two bills would ban such agreements in contracts dealing with nursing homes and automobile sales. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is due to consider its own legislation concerning nursing home arbitration, will hear testimony later this week from a former arbitrator who is now a bitter critic of the system.

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