Monday, November 2, 2015

NYTimes analysis: Forced arbitration becoming more prevalent.

The New York Times (11/1, A1, Silver-Greenberg, Gebeloff, Subscription Publication, 11.64M) reports on “a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations.” By “inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.” The Times notes that “over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration,” as well as “getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.” According to the Times, “some state judges have called the class-action bans a ‘get out of jail free’ card, because it is nearly impossible for one individual to take on a corporation with vast resources.”
        Forced arbitration seen favoring corporations. The New York Times (11/2, A1, Silver-Greenberg, Corkery, Subscription Publication, 11.64M) reports that Deborah L. Pierce, an emergency room doctor in Philadelphia, “was optimistic when she brought a sex discrimination claim against the medical group that had dismissed her,” but “she began to worry, though, once she was blocked from court and forced into private arbitration,” where a corporate attorney who also handled arbitrations ultimately ruled against her. An investigation by the Times found that arbitration “often bears little resemblance to court,” and that “over the last 10 years, thousands of businesses across the country – from big corporations to storefront shops – have used arbitration to create an alternate system of justice.” Under arbitration, “rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients, The Times found.” 

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