Tuesday, November 27, 2007


You know that promise, about getting your day in court? By way of Bob Sullivan-Kevin Drum-Mother Jones we find more and more people are losing/giving up this long-held American right. But it’s not the communists who've gone after our court system. No, apparently it’s the corporations and who are getting in bed with arbitration firms. From Mother Jones

All of this is especially nefarious given that the vast majority of consumers who attempt to seek justice in mandatory arbitration lose. The nonprofit consumer group Public Citizen recently analyzed data the NAF provided to the state of California, one of the few states that actually requires arbitration firms to disclose information about their results. Public Citizen found that in 94 percent of 19,000 cases, NAF arbitrators ruled in favor of the businesses that hired them ...
One reason businesses often come out on top in arbitration is that arbitrators who rule for consumers have a tendency to find themselves out of work. Such was the case with Richard Neely, a former chief justice of West Virginia's Supreme Court, who worked briefly as an arbitrator for the NAF. In an article called "Arbitration and the Godless Bloodsuckers," Neely reported that he had refused to award a bank arbitration-related fees that he judged to be far in excess of what a court would have charged. He never got another case. Neely is not alone. A 2000 study of forced arbitration in HMO contracts found that on the rare occasion that an arbitrator made a significant award for a patient, the HMO never hired that person to arbitrate a case again.
Scroll down to the Mother Jones story of Deborah Williams. In her case the Attorney General of Maryland determined she had been defrauded. She went to arbitration expecting to win. She lost and was ordered to pay a $150,000 judgment to the firm that defrauded her, and charged another $100,000 for the cost of arbitration.

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