You have a Constitutional right and it’s been stolen from you. The worst part is, you didn’t even know it happened. The good part is every consumer rights attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys is helping to do something about it.
On May 2nd & 3rd, GTA trial attorneys John Michael Montevideo and Max Halpern, in association with Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), met in Sacramento with California Assembly Members and Senators to discuss the harms to consumers from Forced Arbitration and the bills they can support to stop the harm.
As explained by the American Association of Justice (AAJ), hidden in the fine print of many consumer contracts – from credit cards and cell phone contracts to nursing home care and employment contracts – are dangerous forced arbitration clauses. Consumers and employees are often forced to sign these clauses in order to receive services or get hired and often don’t know they’ve signed away their legal rights until it is too late.
In the event of a dispute with the corporation, forced arbitration says that a consumer or an employee cannot take their case to court but instead has to go to a private arbitration forum designed by the very corporation the dispute is against — a process that tilts heavily in favor of the arbitrator’s corporate benefactors.
Buried in the fine print of countless contracts for everyday goods and services, a recent Politico article details, is language that bars people from holding corporations accountable in court for illegal, and sometimes dangerous, conduct.
The sharp shift away from the civil justice system has barely registered with Americans. F. Paul Bland Jr., the executive director of Public Justice, a national consumer advocacy group, attributed this to the tangle of bans placed inside clauses added to contracts that no one reads in the first place. “Corporations are allowed to strip people of their constitutional right to go to court,” Mr. Bland said in the 3-Part New York Times article dealing with Forced Arbitration head-on. “Imagine the reaction if you took away people’s Second Amendment right to own a gun” because you ordered a cup of coffee.
Examples of How This Affects You Today:
First, you’ve already taken your first steps towards learning about this issue by reading this article.
Second, click on the additional video and article resources below to learn more. This includes, Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, narrates “Lost in the Fine Print,” a short documentary detailing the injustice of forced arbitration. Additionally, a link to all 3 parts of the New York Times articles explaining the Forced Arbitration emergency.
Third, on May 5th, regulators in Washington, D.C. are set to strike back. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the U.S. Department of Education are expected to propose rules to rein in the abuses of forced arbitration, making for a growing number of federal agencies taking action against this unfettered exploitation of American consumers. “CFPB has taken an important first step towards protecting consumers from forced arbitration, and more can and should be done.” Says AAJ. “Congress, the White House and State Legislators should stand up for consumers and end forced arbitration once and for all.”
Fourth, know that consumer rights attorney John Michael Montevideo (GTA Senior Trial Attorney and Managing Partner of our Orange County Office), who is on the Board of Governors of the statewide organization CAOC, and Max Halpern (GTA Trial Attorney) are addressing the following bills in the state Capitol on your behalf:
Together we will fight Forced Arbitration and protect the balance of justice in America.
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, narrates “Lost in the Fine Print,” a short documentary detailing the injustice of forced arbitration.
A three-part NY Times series examining how forced arbitration denies U.S. citizens of a constitutional right: Their day in court. The New York Times recently published an investigative series of front page stories exposing the corporate bullying tactic of forced arbitration. The stories are based on thousands of court records, interviews with lawyers, judges, arbitrators and the people who have been affected by forced arbitration, in 35 states.
Calls for a crackdown on forced arbitration – Link To Story
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