The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure matter. They can determine who wins and who loses. And they have been changing in the wrong direction for some time. Now, proposed rule changes are moving forward and three things are clear: they are much better than what was originally proposed, they are still disturbing, and they demonstrate the critical importance of the Federal Rules process and access to justice advocates’ participation in it.
General Mills announced on April 19, 2014 that it removed a forced arbitration clause in its terms of service. Forced arbitration is an abusive practice where corporations force customers into a dispute mill that is rigged and secretive. The corporations pick the arbitrator and the arbitrator's decision is final - you have no ability to appeal or ever go to court.
Corporations want a get-out-of-jail-free card for cheating small businesses and individuals
Washington, DC—The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a case that could provide corporations with unfettered power to evade federal laws by keeping small businesses and individuals out of the courts and forced into a rigged arbitration process. In the case, American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, SCOTUS will decide if corporations can force arbitration on small businesses and individuals, even when it can be shown that the cost of forced arbitration would make justice unattainable.
AAJ CEO Linda Lipsen will be featured on a panel Monday night as part of the Alliance for Justice’s DC premiere of Unequal Justice: The Relentless Rise of the 1% Court. Unequal Justice is a twenty minute documentary looking at the recent string of pro-corporate decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.
See below for a preview of the film.
The Washington Post had a column today from Keiser Health News warning consumers against signing away their rights due to clauses found in the fine-print of nursing home contracts.
The Third Circuit issued an opinion in Homa v. American Express this week that wiped out consumers’ hope for meaningful access to justice when faced with a forced arbitration clause. The court found that when a forced arbitration clause with a class action ban is included in the fine print of a contract, individual arbitration is the consumer’s only remedy – even if a consumer can prove that the cost of arbitration is so high that it is not a viable option.
Before the ink was even dry on the Supreme Court ruling in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) case, numerous Members of Congress argued repeatedly and publicly to repeal and replace the ACA with a federal medical malpractice proposal that relies on the Commerce Clause for constitutional authority. This legislation would decimate the legal rights of patients injured by negligence, nursing home abuse, or defective drugs and devices and eliminate any incentive improve patient safety.
Washington, DC—The following is a statement from the American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Gary M. Paul in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a step forward not only in the fight to expand access to healthcare, but also in the fight to protect patients’ access to justice.