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Monday, November 16, 2015

Chamber of Commerce Pushes Back Against CFPB on Arbitration

Today's NY Times reports:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others have said the [CFPB]’s findings do not support its proposed rules. “By ignoring its own data that clearly shows major deficiencies with court-based litigation and disregards the real-world advantages of arbitration, the C.F.P.B. has demonstrated its bias for trial lawyers over average Americans,” Mr. Webb, of the chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, said.
Considerable sums of money are at stake. Late last month, the bond-rating firm Moody’s Investors Service warned that if enacted, the bureau’s proposed rule might leave companies more vulnerable to class actions that could “force changes to company practices that cut into revenues” or “draw regulatory scrutiny.”

Separately, the NY Times writes "the Justice Department issued a proposal to protect military service members from arbitration requirements. Earlier this month, Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota and a longtime opponent of arbitration, renewed his push for Congress to pass a bill he introduced this year that would prevent companies from requiring employees to go to arbitration."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

NY Times Critical of Religious Arbitration

NY Times explains "For generations, religious tribunals have been used in the United States to settle family disputes and spiritual debates. But through arbitration, religion is being used to sort out secular problems like claims of financial fraud and wrongful death."

Some examples: "Customers who buy bamboo floors from Higuera Hardwoods in Washington State must take any dispute before a Christian arbitrator, according to the company’s website. Carolina Cabin Rentals, which rents high-end vacation properties in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, tells its customers that disputes may be resolved according to biblical principles. The same goes for contestants in a fishing tournament in Hawaii."

Good commentary on the NY Times articles by North Carolina Law Professor Mark Weidemaier

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NY Times Keeps Criticizing Adhesive Arbitration Agreements

Today's criticism goes beyond yesterday's criticism in arguing that the process of arbitration is biased in favor of businesses and against individual consumers and employees.

The Times asserts that arbitration’s “rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients.” That’s quite a strong allegation and one that I think most arbitrators would dispute. Arbitrators are supposed to be neutral and a ground for vacating an arbitration award is evident partiality of the arbitrator.

Good commentary on the NY Times articles by North Carolina Law Professor Mark Weidemaier