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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
Arbitration Latest News
NPR: Horrors of Binding Arbitration
Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Rape Case Highlights Arbitration Debate
Jamie Leigh Jones was a 20-year-old Halliburton employee in 2005 when she was sent to work in Iraq. She'd been there just four days when she joined a small group of Halliburton firefighters outside her barracks at the end of the day. One of them gave her a drink. She took two sips, and Jones says that was the last thing she remembered...Jones had been raped, repeatedly...Jones has decided that if she can't have her day in criminal court, she'll sue Halliburton and its former subsidiary, KBR, in civil court. "I want corporate accountability," she says.

Read more...
 
Arbitration Reforms Needed
Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Iraq Rape Case, Stresses Dire Need for Arbitration Reformt
Halliburton, its subsidiary KBR, and the employees who raped Jones, have faced no criminal or civil consequences for their actions, leaving the physically and emotionally damaged Jones to question if certain corporations are immune from the law.  Halliburton/KBR denies responsibility for Jones’ rape, allowed the employees involved to stay on the job after she left Iraq, declined to ensure that the responsible employees faced criminal charges, and now claim they can’t be sued in court either, pointing to a mandatory arbitration clause in Jones’ employment contract.

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Growing Support for Arbitration Reforms
Friday, 05 June 2009

The Arbitration Fairness Act Gets Support From NASAA
The North American Securities Administrators Association, NASAA, announced last week that it fully supports the Arbitration Fairness Act, which makes forced arbitration unenforceable. The Arbitration Fairness Act currently making its way through Congress, which will make binding arbitration agreements before an actual disagreement occurs unenforceable, has been given a boost by being endorsed by an organization of state securities regulators. The North American Securities Administrators Association, NASAA, announced last week that it fully supports the legislation, introduced as S. 931 by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and H.R. 1020 by Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA).

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Homebuilder arbitration under fire
Thursday, 28 May 2009

Public Citizen says rules tilt playing field toward builders
A national consumer advocacy organization is urging attorneys general in 17 states, including Georgia, to enforce bans on mandatory arbitration clauses often used by the home building industry. One metro Atlantan who agrees with the group is Marietta resident Greg Cole. He says construction problems at his $429,000, 3,400-square-foot house led to cracks, leaks and mold that sickened the whole family.They went to binding arbitration with John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, as the home warranty required, but Cole said the house has not been fixed and continues to deteriorate. His family lives elsewhere. “This is a system that clearly does not work for the homeowner,” he said. “I hope what this group is doing can help change things in the future.”

Read more...
 
Public Citizen Report - Home Court Advantage
Wednesday, 20 May 2009

How the Building Industry Uses Forced Arbitration to Evade Accountability
New home buyers are told (often at the last minute) that they will receive a warranty, which is often characterized as a “gift”  or "bonus" ...warranties dictate that any disputes between buyers and builders must be settled through mandatory binding arbitration, or forced arbitration. This privatized adjudication system provides the ultimate home court advantage for builders and warranty companies. Arbitration firms rely on builders and warranty firms for their business. They have every incentive to keep builders and warranty companies happy.  A promotional brochure for AAA’s spring 2009 construction conference advised builders not to miss the opportunity to hear about “How you can control the arbitration process through advocacy and by drafting appropriate clauses for your contracts” and promises tips on “identifying the right arbitrator for your case.
Read Report...

 
New Poll: Big Business Win 84% of Arbitration Cases they Initiate
Sunday, 03 May 2009

Poll: Americans Oppose Forced Arbitration, Demand Corporations Be Held Accountable
Washington, DC – Americans widely oppose corporations using mandatory binding arbitration clauses in the fine print of consumer and employment contracts, according to national polling of likely voters conducted by Lake Research Partners. Forced arbitration clauses are hidden in the fine print of everything from cell phone, home, credit card and retirement account terms of agreement to employment and nursing home contracts...Fair Arbitration Now Coalition, an organization of consumer and community groups released poll results last week showing most people have no idea they're giving up a constitutional right when they sign contracts containing an arbitration clause. When details of mandatory arbitration are made clear, 59% of Americans say they oppose the practice and would back legislation requiring that arbitration be voluntary, the poll found...companies win nearly 84% of cases they initiate. Six in 10 likely voters support the Arbitration Fairness Act – including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Read Report...

 
Los Angeles Times: Fair Arbitration Now Coalition
Sunday, 03 May 2009

Sue the company? Most contracts force consumers to forfeit that right
Mandatory arbitration clauses have become a routine part of the fine print in most financial, telecom and employment contracts, as well as numerous other customer agreements...Consumer advocates, sensing a shift in the political winds under President Obama, believe the time is right to challenge mandatory arbitration and have banded together to support legislation ending the practice..."We have no problem with arbitration," said David Arkush of the watchdog group Public Citizen... He was speaking on behalf of the Fair Arbitration Now Coalition, an organization of consumer and community groups. The coalition released poll results last week showing most people have no idea they're giving up a constitutional right when they sign contracts containing an arbitration clause. When details of mandatory arbitration are made clear, 59% of Americans say they oppose the practice and would back legislation requiring that arbitration be voluntary, the poll found...companies win nearly 84% of cases they initiate.

Read more...
 
All Americans Are Entitled To Their Day In Court
Saturday, 02 May 2009

FEINGOLD INTRODUCES CONSUMER JUSTICE LEGISLATION
Restoring The Rule of Law 

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is reintroducing legislation to protect the right of Americans to have their day in court. The bill would make pre-dispute agreements requiring arbitration for any employment, consumer, franchise, or civil rights disputes unenforceable.  The bill does not prohibit arbitration, but rather prevents a party with greater bargaining power from forcing individuals into arbitration through a contractual provision and ensures that citizens have a true choice between arbitration and the traditional civil court system. Similar legislation, H.R. 1020, was previously introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA). Like Johnson’s bill, Feingold’s legislation does not generally apply to collective bargaining agreements, but it includes a new provision to reverse a recent Supreme Court ruling (14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett) that arbitration provisions contained in such agreements can waive an employee’s right to enforce employment discrimination laws in court. View Press Conference...  View photos

 
Read Arbitration Victim Stories
Saturday, 02 May 2009

Stories of Americans Hurt by Forced Arbitration
Forced arbitration clauses – which are buried in the fine print of credit card terms, employee handbooks, health insurance plans, nursing home admissions forms and many other contracts – eliminate consumers’ and employees’ access to the courts and require that they submit their disputes to a private legal system that favors corporations. Forced arbitration clauses enable big business to undermine consumer protections, circumvent civil rights laws, bypass product safety and escape accountability for wrongdoing.  Read victims stories about individuals and small businesses that suffered severe hardship due to forced arbitration.
Read more...

 
Corporate Entities in this Country – ABOVE THE LAW
Saturday, 02 May 2009

Jamie Leigh Jones Feature of Arbitration Fairness Day Press Conference
Washington DC - Good afternoon. I am standing before you to share with you a personal tragedy. I do this to bring awareness to legislation which is designed to ensure that no American will be deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to the fair administration of justice before a jury of their peers and judge, skilled in the law...When my lawyers filed suit, they were met with Halliburton’s response that ALL of my claims were to be decided in arbitration – because I had signed away my right to a jury trial at the age of 20, and without the advice of counsel, or any choice other than to be terminated. Thomas Jefferson said that “no man is above the law and no man below it, nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it.” Here, with the misuse of arbitration, we have made corporate entities in this country – ABOVE THE LAW. See Related ABC Story - Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR (ABC News)
Read more...

 
Associated Press: Jamie Leigh Jones Appeal
Saturday, 02 May 2009

Appeal heard in rape case against Halliburton, KBR
A judge ruled last year that some of Jamie Leigh Jones' claims against Halliburton Co. and several former subsidiaries can be tried in open court, but the companies say she signed an agreement that requires all of her claims against the companies to be resolved privately through arbitration...The Associated Press usually does not identify people alleging sexual assault, but Jones' face and name have been broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site. She also described her allegations in testimony before a congressional subcommittee.

Read more...
 
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