Lawmakers Will Soon Vote on the FAIR Act to Stop Forced Arbitration
Americans have the right of a jury trial unless forced to agree otherwise in the form of an arbitrary clause contractually. These agreements have found their way into all of our employment, consumer, franchise and even medical contracts. Once used as a tool for businesses to solve their disputes, forced arbitration has become a greedy and ruthless tactic, dangerous to consumers.
Just this week, the full House of Representatives is set to vote on the FAIR Act, H.R. 1423. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), is vital to all American consumers as no one should be forced to agree pre-dispute to allow third-party arbitrators decide on a judgment rightfully meant for a public trial. The bill has 222 cosponsors including several Representatives from Illinois.
- Sean Casten (D-IL-6)
- Danny K. Davis (D-IL-7)
- Jesus G. Garcia (D-IL-4)
- Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8)
- Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-3)
- Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-1)
- Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL-9)
- Mike Quigley (D-IL-5)
- Bill Foster (D-IL-11)
- Robin L. Kelly (D-IL-2)
- Bradley Scott Schneider (D-IL-10)
- Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14)
- Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17)
In addition to the many ethical concerns, forced arbitration contracts question the fairness in allowing corporations to get away with potentially illegal business practices without the public every knowing. These agreements force consumers, patients, and nursing home residents to sign away their 7th amendment right to trial by jury and leaves them left with minimal resources to collect damages if injured or neglected under the care of others.
Nursing Homes Residents Can ‘Unknowingly’ Be Pushed into Arbitration Agreements
Forced arbitration agreements are typically signed before a resident has been admitted or moving into an elder care facility. As one of the country’s leading nursing home and abuse law firms, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti support the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, which will make it more difficult for nursing homes and assisted living communities to force residents into signing legal contracts which deprive their right to seek justice in a public court in the case of them being harmed, injured, or neglected.
Forced pre-dispute arbitration takes advantage of long-term care consumers at their most vulnerable, stacks the deck against them, restricts consumer choice, hides poor care, and lessens provider accountability. Also, it is well known by attorneys and big businesses that binding arbitration agreements drastically limit the financial liability for deliberately deceiving, injuring, abusing, or neglecting someone that would otherwise have the ability to take their case to court. With as many as 85 percent of nursing home facilities reporting at least one case of abuse or neglect, it is time to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable in front of a judge and jury rather than hide behind the closed doors of an arbitrator.
How You Can Help Stop Forced Arbitration
If you are in the process of choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, we strongly suggest that you ask if the contract contains a mandatory arbitration agreement. If it does, we recommend that you do not sign it. While all contracts may differ, below is an example of a provision of a simple mandatory arbitration clause that may appear in a nursing home contract.
“Any controversy or cause of action resulting from or relating to this contract or any breach thereof shall be settled by arbitration before the American Nursing Home Arbitrators association. The number of arbitrators shall be three. The place of Arbitration shall be Chicago, Illinois. Illinois law shall apply.”
Corporations and nursing home groups should be held accountable for neglect, injury, or death of a resident and passing the FAIR Act could help end forced arbitration clauses which prevent the chance for a victim’s rights to be vindicated. This week, local state Representatives should be encouraged to vote “Yes” to stop this practice which disguises abuse and neglect allegations, otherwise never known to the public.
Our blog readers can help by connecting with local representatives responsible for this vote and support advocacy groups charged with protecting the rights of American consumers, including vulnerable residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Resources for readers:
- illinoispolicy.org: Use this online search tool to contact your local Illinois lawmakers.
- Find your Representative and congressional district by matching your zip code and be linked to a contact page.
- Read more about how forced arbitration is impacting America’s elderly.
By sharing this blog post on social networks now, and tagging your comments with #EndForcedArbitration our readers can also help raise awareness so that the FAIR Act, H.R. 1423, can put an end to forced arbitration practices.
Chicago’s Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death because of nursing home negligence, you may seek compensation to hold wrongdoers accountable. We have experience in interpreting nursing home agreements and know when our clients have been misguided and mistreated.
Based in Chicago, the nursing home abuse and neglect legal team at Levin & Perconti has recovered more than $660 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including a number of record results since 1992. Our consultations are always free, confidential, and handled by one of our skilled attorneys.
Click here to fill out an online request form or call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.