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Are Arbitration Provisions Corporate America's License to Steal?

Photo of Randy Sorrels

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been leading the charge to eliminate corporate accountability in the legal system. One of the methods the organization has been using more recently is forcing arbitration on as many people and other companies as possible. The Chamber's legal reform front group is known as the Institute for Legal Reform, and there is plenty of corporate money behind the group to assist in their ultimate goal - to limit the courtroom remedies of everyday Americans. And what the group can't do in the legislative process, they are trying to do by inserting arbitration provisions (often in small print) in contracts that affect every aspect of our lives.

Many arbitration clauses are put in to eliminate the rights of consumers to seek legal redress in our courts. Buried in the fine print of many contracts - from credit card and nursing home contracts to employee handbooks and online user agreements - are dangerous forced arbitration clauses that eliminate access to justice and replace it with what many call a secret, corporate tribunal. As noted by one recent report:

By opening a credit card envelope in the mail, making a call on a cell phone, or even taking a first sip of coffee, millions of American consumers are unknowingly giving up their rights and protections established by more than 200 years of constitutional law. Instead they unwittingly "agree" to the terms and conditions of a corporate backed privatized system designed to ensure consumers can never hold corporations accountable for causing harm, no matter how abusive or horrific.

We as lawyers can fight these clauses, but the deck is clearly stacked against both us as lawyers and our clients.

The attorneys of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend handle arbitrations as well as trials. If you are in need of legal assistance, contact our law firm at 713-396-3964 oror 1-800-594-4884.

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