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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
Attorney • (800) 397-4910

The Wrong-Doer’s “Silver Bullet”: Forced Arbitration

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Silver Bullet

 

When a corporation behaves badly… takes advantage of people… injures people… even breaks the law, AND if that corporation wants to avoid responsibility and accountability for its conduct, what does it do?  It asks the following question:

“What if there existed a single argument that could be made… that would successfully remove the matter from Court and likely end the case in its entirety?”

- John Rossman, attorney for international companies, collection agencies, debt buyers, and creditors

The “silver bullet” to eliminate any corporate accountability:  mandatory binding arbitration clauses (also known as adhesion arbitration clauses).

Corporations and the lawyers who defend them routinely argue that arbitration saves all parties time and money.  But John Rossman, a lawyer for international companies who represents (and defends) collection agencies, debt buyers, and creditors, was unusually candid in his recent blog post.  Instead of espousing the “fairness” of mandatory arbitration, he exposed exactly why it should never be permitted: Mandatory binding arbitration effectively immunizes wrongdoers from accountability and responsibility.  The goal for Rossman is not fairness, it is to kill the case against his client before it begins.

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue of mandatory binding arbitration.  In 2011, the Court decided the case and signed off on such conduct.  At the time, I wrote:

The AT&T v. Concepcion decision is seen by many as a license to steal for major US corporations.  What recourse does one have if a company steals $1.00 from 10 million people?  Or $25?  Or $50?  Or $500?

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The answer, quite plainly, is none.  Who then is to uphold justice if corporations can simply contract away accountability and rule of law?

We must safeguard our fundamental rights.  We must preserve and protect each fundamental right if we are to preserve any of them.  The 7th Amendment right to jury trial is the ultimate lynch pin for all other constitutional rights.  When the right to freedom of speech is protected by the 7th Amendment.  The right to freedom of religion is protected by the 7th Amendment.  The right to keep and bear arms is protected by the 7th Amendment.  All rights are ultimately protected from government (and corporate) overreach by the fundamental right to have your claim heard in a trial by jury.

If there’s some “silver bullet” that does away with the basic, fundamental right, it should be done away with immediately.

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