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Congress May Bar Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 3-Aug-2010

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner

                                                                                                                    

In a column in the Baltimore Sun (8/1), Eileen Ambrose wrote, "Maryland lawmakers considered – and failed this year – to pass legislation making arbitration more transparent, and problems with the process have caught the attention of federal officials, who are taking a hard look at making consumers agree in advance to arbitration and ways to give them a fairer shake." Bills "pending in Congress also seek to bar such clauses in consumer products and services as well as in nursing home contracts." But "until Congress or the new consumer protection bureau acts, most consumers will have few options if they don’t want to give up their right to settle a dispute in court."

As it stands, many corporations bury mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts in an effort to keep victims of corporate wrongdoing from access justice in the court system.  I have seen some arbitration clauses that even dictates who the arbitrator will be.  Do you think the company who drafted the document would  pick a fair arbitrator?  These clauses should be barred.  If a consumer and a company wish to utilize arbitration after a claim arises, then fine.  Stripping innocent Americans of their rights is not. 

I hope Congress gets this job done and eliminates forced arbitration.

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About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners.  His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA.  Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2010)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

Categories: Consumer Safety
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