Public outcry has killed an attempt turn clickthrough terms of service into legally binding obligations (for now)

On May 21, the American Law Institute -- a kind of star chamber of 4,000 judges, law professors, and lawyers -- was scheduled to pass a "restatement" of the law of consumer contracts, with the plan being to codify case-law to ensure that terms of service would be treated as enforceable obligations by US courts. Read the rest

Supreme Court of Canada to rule on the enforceability of arbitration clauses

Back in January, an Ontario court ruled that Uber's arbitration clause couldn't keep its drivers from suing it; Uber has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has taken up the case and will hear arguments about whether arbitration clauses (through which the parties surrender the right to sue in court) are enforceable in "adhesion contracts" (contracts that are not negotiated, where one party has much less power than the other, such as in click-through agreements). Read the rest

The FAIR Act will end forced arbitration for employment, consumer, antitrust and civil rights disputes

Forced arbitration "agreements" are how corporate America gets workers, tenants and customers to sign away their legal rights, substituting kangaroo courts where the "judge" is a lawyer paid by the corporation that abused you, and where the rules are whatever the corporation says they should be; The FAIR Act invalidates the use of arbitration to settle disputes over employment, consumer rights, antitrust and civil rights; it has 147 co-sponsors in the House and 34 in the Senate (all Democrats -- Republicans love forced arbitration!), and its only hope of passing is if Democrats nuke the filibuster rule the next time they control the House, Senate and Presidency (that is, in 2020). Read the rest

Google Walkout meets #MeToo in a new anti-arbitration campaign

When outraged googlers walked off the job last year to protest the company's practice of secretly paying off serial sexual assaulters and harassers, while denying employees the right to sue over harassment through arbitration clauses in their contracts, Google CEO Sundar Pichai promised revise Google employment contracts to remove mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment claims. Read the rest

An upcoming Supreme Court ruling could force all workers into forced arbitration, deprived of the right to class lawsuits

One of the cases that the Supreme Court heard this season was NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc. which rolls up several cases where employers are hoping to establish that they can force prospective employees to sign a mandatory arbitration waiver as a condition of employment; if they prevail, the majority of workplaces in America will likely adopt the practice. Read the rest

Those "heroic rogue GOP senators" just helped Trump shield Equifax and Wells Fargo from lawsuits

Senators Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain talk a big game about not letting the GOP be the handmaiden of trumpist corruption, but when the chips were down last night, they voted with their party and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Handmaid's Tale to pass legislation that lets financial institutions take away your right to sue them when they defraud you. Read the rest

Desperate last-ditch attempt to save the right to sue abusive nursing homes

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services barred nursing homes from forcing their residents into accepting binding arbitration agreements, insisting that nursing homes that engaged in neglect, physical or sexual abuse should be subject to legal consequences: but then the Trump administration killed the rule, giving a sweet gift to the giant nursing-home lobby and the Chamber of Commerce. Read the rest

AT&T: it's not "forced arbitration" because no one forced you to have broadband

AT&T, which has successfully lobbied state governments and the FCC to ban any broadband competition in the markets where it operates, says that its forced arbitration "agreements" aren't really forced, because people in the markets it serves could just not use the internet. Read the rest

Al Franken and FCC commissioner Clyburn want limits on forced arbitration

Arbitration was conceived of as a way to allow giant corporations to avoid costly court battles by meeting with a mediator and talking things out: but since the Supreme Court ruled (in a series of mid-1980s cases) that companies could force their customers and employees into arbitration by adding "binding arbitration" clauses to the fine print in take-it-or-leave contracts, the US justice system has gone dark, which an ever-larger proportion of legal action disappearing into the opaque bowels of the arbitration system, where the richest participant usually wins. Read the rest

Forced arbitration clauses are a form of wealth transfer to the rich

A federal judge called America's move to forced arbitration and bans on class-action suits -- bans favored and enabled by Scalia -- "among the most profound shifts in our legal history." Read the rest