This Week in Arbitration
- The Associated Press reports that a federal appeals court heard the appeal of Halliburton & KBR last week. Last year, a judge ruled that some of Jamie Leigh Jones’ claims could be heard in open court, but her former employers are still trying to force her allegations of assault and battery, emotional distress and false imprisonment into the secrecy of arbitration.
- Roll Call covers the introduction of the Arbitration Fairness Act into the Senate, and mentions the Chamber of Commerce’s response – a series of short films to be run in movie theaters across the country.
- The Huffington Post also has an article covering the Arbitration Fairness Act, with some powerful quotes from Jamie Leigh Jones, Senator Feingold, and Public Citizen’s David Arkush.
- Susan Antilla has a great column up at Bloomberg that mentions the Chamber films, the Arbitration Fairness Act, and Arbitration Fairness Day. She also takes issue with a certain Supreme Court Justice’s decision in the Pyett case:
Among the arguments by Justice Clarence Thomas was that the streamlined procedures of arbitration are not a basis to consider the forum inadequate, and that arbitration’s informality “is one of the chief reasons that parties select arbitration.” Wrong, Mr. Justice. “The parties” don’t select arbitration in these disputed cases. Only one party does.
- David Lazarus’s column in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times is a solid primer on forced arbitration in the consumer setting. He concludes,
Seems to me that if arbitration is indeed fair to everyone, it shouldn’t have to be crammed down consumers’ throats. Arbitration should be offered as a cost-effective and relatively speedy alternative to litigation. But it should be just one option available, just as filing a lawsuit should be an option. By the same token, no company should be permitted to deny customers their right to a jury trial or to participate in class-action lawsuits.