COMPANIES CUTTING CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

The American Association for Justice recently released a report on the injustice that is forced arbitration. (Not to be confused with the pro-access-to-justice civil arbitration system we have in Washington.) Following an extensive, multi-part investigative report by the New York Times, forced arbitration was the topic of our last Fighting for Justice newsletter, which you can find here.

Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice and Democracy wrote in the Huffington Post, “In forced arbitration systems, access to the courthouse door is blocked and all disputes must be resolved privately and secretly by the arbitration company chosen by the insurer. Arbitrators are not required to have any legal training. They may be biased. The discovery process, whereby parties obtain information from one another, is extremely limited. Arbitrators issue no written legal opinions, so no legal precedents or rules for future conduct can be established. And there is no right to appeal even though the arbitrator’s decision may be legally incorrect.”

It I hard to imagine a more clear and simple Constitutional amendment than the Seventh Amendment: “In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.” This seems as clear a violation of the Constitution as we can imagine.

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