On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law passed out three anti-mandatory arbitration bills, which will now go to the full committee for action.
- H.R. 6126, the "Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008"
- H.R. 5312, the "Automobile Arbitration Fairness Act of 2008" and
- H.R. 3010, the "Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007"
As noted in previous posts (here, here and here), the plaintiffs' bar has made pre-dispute arbitration clauses their No. 1 lobbying target in the current Congress, using emotional arguments about nursing homes to leverage other anti-arbitration bills.
Monday's Wall Street Journal carried an effective op-ed arguing for the benefits of arbitration by a former Clinton-appointee to the FTC, Christine Varney (now at Hogan & Hartson): "Arbitration Works Better than Lawsuits." She notes the Arbitration Fairness Act, "is so sweeping that it wouldn't apply just to contracts consumers may sign in the future. It will cancel arbitration agreements agreed to in the past."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, which has been working diligently on arbitration, yesterday released a new analysis of California debt collection arbitration cases, demonstrating that arbitration is a better course of action for the consumer than going to court.