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Forced Arbitration and the U.S. Chamber’s Efforts to Keep Us Out of Court
Author: Burton LeBlanc, Baron & Budd Shareholder and American Association of Justice President
Last Wednesday I was on the Ed Schultz Radio Show to discuss forced arbitration and provide a rebuttal to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which recently held its annual Legal Reform Summit to discuss what they deem a legal system gone awry. The summit is called “Healing the U.S. Lawsuit System,” but the title belies the U.S. Chamber’s agenda to eliminate our citizen’s rights to participate in the civil justice system, in effect forcing everyone into arbitration in place of a courtroom. As I’ve said before, forced arbitration is not a process that any individual, small business or employee would want to find themselves in; instead it is a process that is biased to big business.
When our civil system was created, it was done so with the understanding that our most basic rights to justice could only be possible when everyone had a right to speak up against the powers that harmed them. Take this right away, and big businesses, and big government, can flourish unchecked and unaccountable at our expense. It doesn’t sound right but the diminishing of our rights is happening right now.
For example, when you sign up for something like a credit card you may not realize that your rights are most often signed away. Should you have a problem with the credit card company, you may find that you will not be able to speak up in the way that our country’s justice system begets – there will be no court room or due process. Instead, you will face an arbitration clause that delegitimizes your case and your injuries. You lose. Big business wins. And the government that is supposed to protect us?
They may be back in business – the question is, for whom?