Stanford University law and legal history professor Amalia D. Kessler penned an op-ed in today’s New York Times on corporations inserting abusive, take-it-or-leave-it forced arbitration clauses into consumer and employee contracts as a tool to avoid accountability.
Congress / Legislative
Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing on the cruise industry’s current safety and environmental regulations and what lessons could be learned from the Costa Concordia accident in Italy earlier this year.
Tomorrow Congress will hear from the FDA, the medical device industry and health care professionals on the current medical device approval process. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health is holding a hearing entitled “Reauthorization of Medical Device User Fee Act (MDUFA): What It Means for Jobs, Innovation and Patients.”
For years, AAJ has been following the shady backroom dealings of the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). AAJ released a report in May 2010 detailing how ALEC has been ghostwriting the law for big business on behalf of oil, drug, asbestos and insurance interests.
The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has long fought to prohibit corporations from avoiding accountability by hiding forced arbitration clauses in the fine print of consumer and employee contracts. When Bloomberg broke the story that Carlyle was attempting to take away investors’ rights by including a forced arbitration clause in its proposed IPO filing, AAJ raised concerns with the SEC and brought awareness to the issue.
The media coverage that followed and the news on Friday that Carlyle dropped the forced arbitration clause shows that now more than ever, "the public cares and public scrutiny matters."
In his latest column for The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen provides additional commentary on the expansion of the Feres doctrine by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Florida, as reported last week by The Military Times.
Idaho is just the latest state to introduce American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC) model legislation aimed at providing immunity for Crown Holding, a major ALEC financial backer. This bill, if enacted, would leave little recourse for those suffering from the deadly effects of asbestos, shielding Crown from any accountability.
Members of Congress are calling out Carlyle for including a forced arbitration clause in its proposed IPO filing that would ban shareholder class proceedings, severely limiting the ability of investors to hold the company publicly accountable for fraud, misconduct, or negligence.
AAJ has long railed against the broad application of the Feres doctrine, an outdated 1950 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prevents active duty military from holding the government accountable for negligent conduct. Time and again, we have seen servicemembers injured or killed by entirely preventable medical malpractice, leaving families with no legal recourse. While legislation has been introduced in Congress to aid these servicemembers, none has yet passed.