"Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration: A Roundtable Discussion" - August 5 and 6, 2009
FORCED ARBITRATION The Seventh Amendment hasn't been repealed. So how did Americans lose the right to trial by jury? In purchasing the modern world's necessities, from a credit card to a cell phone and even nursing home services, or accepting a new job, few Americans realize that they have signed away a crucial right. Tucked deep into lengthy contracts written in fine print is clauses dictating that any disagreements be resolved by arbitration, a judicial process in which an arbitrator issues a binding decision without ever having to make its reasoning public. An employee disputing poor working conditions or a nursing home resident alleging medical negligence might never know why their claims against a company were denied. Worse, since the arbitration firms have an interest in maintaining good relationships with the corporations that are their steady customers, it's little surprise that 98.4% of arbitration decisions by the top 10 arbitration firms are made in favor of companies--and against consumers, employees, and patients. The Arbitration Fairness Act, proposed this year in the United States Senate by Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI), protects against clandestine decision-making and corporate favoritism by invalidating pre-dispute BMA "agreements" between parties of unequal bargaining power. For safeguarding the right to trial by jury, where a body of law protects the rights of producer, consumer, employer, and employee alike.we must go up against the money and the power. Only when enough of us stand up and say no more and take back not only our rights but our lives and hold our elected officials accountable for bad legislation will we be free.. Jordan Fogal Please see the truth in pictures and documents. See what happens behind those closed doors when those of us who are not under gag orders can speak out.