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Kia Franklin

Today! Arbitration Fairness Day in DC

I am in DC and on my way right now to go participate in Arbitration Fairness Day--a day when consumer advocates, policy researchers, lawyers, and ordinary people who are passionate about the issue because of personal experience come together to explain why Congress must reform the law on forced arbitration. There is a press conference at noon.

Later, I will provide a recap of today's event and what's been said about it around the blogosphere. For now, I thought I'd share two recent pieces that were really interesting.

First, over on The Weiss File, Gary Weiss observes Wednesday's significance but adds a hefty portion of skepticism, based on his years in the game watching various iterations of a bill to fix forced arbitration be introduced and then killed or fully neglected. He also notes one way that the Arbitration Fairness Act could be improved upon: adding protection for investors. He writes:

Still, it seems a bit strange that investors are not mentioned in the bill --particularly at a time like this. There's no good reason to give the brokerage industry wiggle room that it can exploit if the bill becomes law. It also seems a bit odd that the consumer groups backing this bill don't seem to recognize, judging from their website, that investors are consumers too.

Second, thought I'd share this post by Paul Bland and Tami Alpert over at CL&P blog, about an Ohio court decision that expanded the reach of forced arbitration to levels of absurdity. They write:

Last summer an Ohio State Court of Appeals held that, under Ohio law, if a company claims there is an agreement to arbitrate, then the plaintiffs can be automatically kicked out of the courtroom without being given a chance to respond...

This new decision in Ohio is a complete aberration - court cases are normally like a game of chess in the sense that parties are given a chance to respond whenever the other side makes a move. But now, in Ohio, if a corporation simply claims that there’s an agreement to arbitrate, the corporation gets to have the legal equivalent of a checkmate on the first move.

It's scary that there appear to be no limits on how far some corporations can and will go to shield themselves from being held responsible for their actions. That's why today is so important!

Couldn't make it to DC today? You can go to the Fair Arbitration Now website for more information about staying in the loop. And here's a great tool that is available for folks interested in calling in and having their voices heard.

Happy Arbitration Fairness Day!

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:27 AM, Apr 28, 2009 in Arbitration
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