The Fight Against Forced Arbitration Continues

Today, Bloomberg ran a powerful story on the real-life implications of forced arbitration on consumers and employees. It covers the history of forced arbitration and includes the story of William Kurth. Bloomberg writes:

After watching his father die from sepsis of the blood caused by infections from 13 bedsores in 2005, David W. Kurth of Burlington, Wisconsin, tried to sue the nursing home whose staff he claimed had left his father’s wounds covered in excrement and urine for days at a time. Though the death of his father would have been shocking enough, Kurth told a Congressional subcommittee in 2008 that the “most shocking” part of his family’s ordeal was this: They wouldn’t be able to sue for the alleged neglect because the deceased man’s wife had signed admissions documents that had a mandatory- arbitration agreement.

“How can anyone in good conscience argue that it should be perfectly legal to trick frail, elderly, infirm senior citizens experiencing the most stressful time in their lives into waiving their legal rights?” Kurth asked.

But for every good article that explains why forced arbitration is such a serious problem, we have the Wall Street Journal's editorial board to remind us exactly what we are up against. In today’s paper they editorialized on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's power to investigate and limit or ban forced arbitration in consumer financial products. They used the editorial to repeat corporate talking points that forced arbitration is fair and cost-effective for consumers and to attack trial lawyers and our allies. They did get one point right – the editorial states:

"But the plaintiffs lobby never sleeps and has made it a priority to press Congress to outlaw mandatory arbitration in new legislation."

AAJ continues to advocate for passage of the Arbitration Fairness Act (S. 987 /H.R. 1873) in order to protect consumers from abusive forced arbitration clauses.