On Thursday, a bill that aims to guarantee the essential American right to a trial by jury is being introduced in Washington. The bill, named the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act) and introduced in the House by Rep. Hank Johnson (GA) and in the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT), would eliminate arbitration clauses often found in consumer, patient, and employee agreements. Arbitration agreements take away our Constitutional right to a trial by jury and now begins our chance to finally have a voice in getting rid of these agreements that are nothing more than a strong arm tactic used by those who have all the power.
Why You Should Care About Arbitration
Arbitration is a process in which a wronged person must air their grievances in a private, closed room with an arbitrator instead of in a court room with a judge and jury. Arbitrators, unlike judges, are selected by those demanding the agreement and studies have proved their tendency to choose an outcome that heavily favors the offender. In other words, if you find yourself forced into arbitration, you’ll likely leave the process without having things made right.
Arbitration clauses are often buried in lengthy contracts and even when plainly identified, leave Americans feeling bound to agree, for fear of being denied a job, medical care, or other services if they do not consent. Our clients often see them in nursing home agreements as a condition of admission. These agreements leave those whom have been physically or financially injured (as well as the families who love them) stuck without a true avenue to seek answers and obtain justice. Parents often find these clauses in waivers for many activities and events, with some language even fully excusing companies from liability if they act negligently and cause death or serious injury to your child.
In a speech to the Society of Trial Lawyers earlier this month, Levin & Perconti founding partner Steve Levin said “We must fight to preserve and protect the jury trial system. There are short term benefits to arbitrations and mediations, but that’s really a business, a marketplace where lawsuits are bought and sold in private. They are not and never will be a substitute for the public airing of issues and disputes in public courtrooms before juries.”
Protect Yourself, Speak Out Now
Do not let this chance to solidify your right to a trial by jury pass by without speaking up. No one ever anticipates having to go to court to fight against a bank, credit card company, health care provider, nursing home, or any other entity, but the truth is that lawsuits arise because these businesses often behave poorly.
To quickly and easily send an auto-generated email to your Senators and Representatives in support of the FAIR Act, please click here.