Mandatory Binding Arbitration In the News

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Mandatory Binding Arbitration In the News 

“Consumers using credit cards, cell phones and other forms of credit -- meaning most Minnesotans -- got a major victory this week when state Attorney General Lori Swanson announced that the St. Louis Park-based National Arbitration Forum, the country's largest arbitrator of credit collections, would stop most of its work in the state.”
“Swanson Wins One for State Consumers”
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 07/24/09

“Consumer debt collection is headed for a shakeup now that a key firm in the process is quitting the business amid legal challenges, including one from San Francisco, that have attacked the fairness of arbitration hearings.”
“Arbitration Firm Calling it Quits”
San Francisco Chronicle, 07/22/09

“Attorney General Lori Swanson said Sunday that her office reached a sweeping legal settlement that requires a Minnesota company to get out of the business of arbitrating credit card debts and other consumer collection disputes nationwide.”
“Minn. Firm Can’t Arbitrate Credit Card, Other Debt”
Associated Press, 07/22/09

"According to the Inspector General, for-profit nursing homes are the worst offenders when it comes to violations in nursing homes. These troubling numbers reflect a dangerous trend in nursing home care of placing profits over patient safety, charging Medicare and Medicaid for errors and using a little known practice called binding mandatory arbitration to avoid the scrutiny of the judicial system."
"Greedy Profit Schemes Driving Down Quality of Nursing Home Care,"
Huffington Post, 10/3/08

"More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued on Monday.  About 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients, said the report, by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. Problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect of patients."
"Violations Reported at 94% of Nursing Homes,"
New York Times, 9/30/08

"AT&T’s service agreement is written in dense legalese and essentially gives the company as much latitude as possible – while limiting customers’ ability to seek redress."
"Hung Up on Phone Company's Fine Print,"
Los Angeles Times, 9/14/08

"It is not just the mandatory nature of arbitration that is so offensive. These clauses require arbitration administered by private arbitration companies, many of whom derive all of their income from the industry that is being sued."
"Fight With Me,"
Huffington Post, 09/09/08

"Fighting your credit card company might seem like a David versus Goliath battle. In California, your only option is arbitration, and the numbers show you have a 99.8 percent chance of losing."
"Call Kurtis: Credit Card Arbitration Reporting,"
CBS 13, 09/03/08

"Let's say you had $50,000 in auction-rate securities that your broker said were as safe as money-market funds. The market collapsed, and you sold at an 80 percent haircut. At your arbitration hearing, one of the three panel members works at a firm that also sold auction-rates deceptively. How fair will the hearing be? Will the industry let this conflict of interest stand?"
"Arbitration Favors Firms Over Investors,"
Washington Post, 08/03/08

"A recent suit against an arbitration firm brought by the San Francisco city attorney noted that arbitrators ruled in favor of banks in 100 percent of the 18,045 California cases brought against consumers from January 2003 through March 2007. "From the consumer perspective, it's a nightmare," says Bland. If a bank brings arbitration against you, hire a lawyer and request a hearing — in person."
"The Fine Print: 10 Secrets Your Bank Keeps,"
MSNBC, 07/18/08

"Many reports have documented shoddy care in the nation's approximately 16,000 nursing homes. The Government Accountability Office has repeatedly said sanctions for offenders are ineffective and that deficiencies and outright negligent care is common."
"Nursing Homes Fight Effort to Help Patients Sue,"
Reuters, 06/18/08

"What if a judge solicited cases from big corporations by offering them a business-friendly venue in which to pursue consumers who are behind on their bills? What if the judge tried to make this pitch more appealing by teaming up with the corporations' outside lawyers? And what if the same corporations helped pay the judge's salary? It would, of course, amount to a conflict of interest and cast doubt on the fairness of proceedings before the judge.Yet that's essentially how one of the country's largest private arbitration firms operates."
“Banks Vs. Consumers (Guess Who Wins),”
Business Week, 06/06/08

"It's not uncommon today for a woman visiting her gynecologist to give up her right to sue if something goes wrong.The doctor simply won't treat her unless she agrees to take any potential claim to an arbitration panel rather than the courts."
“New 'Hello' In Health Care: Sign Here Not To Sue,”
The Tampa Tribune, 06/01/08

"Most consumers aren't aware that many of the contracts they sign include these provisions. Even those aware of the provisions are helpless to do anything about them because consumers generally must accept contracts in their entirety. And some provisions -- such as those that force consumers to travel cross-country to attend arbitration hearings -- can be unfair."
“A Good Arbiter,”
The Washington Post, 04/12/08


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