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New AAJ Report on the Troubling Trend of Forced Arbitration

Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jul 20, 2016 in Personal Injury

gavel with flagThe American Association for Justice (AAJ) released a new report, titled "Forced Arbitration: How Corporations Use the Fine Print to Bully Americans," detailing how forced arbitration clauses strip Americans from their right to sue corporations that break the law and cause harm to consumers. These clauses have allowed corporations to get away with fraud, nonpayment of wages, discrimination, and negligence that has harmed or killed consumers.

Forced arbitration clauses strip away your constitutional rights, including the right to a jury, the right to discovery and the right to a written record. You also lose your right to bring a group action against a corporation if it is too expensive or difficult to file a claim by yourself.

The number of corporations that use forced arbitration clauses has skyrocketed in recent years, as many have discovered that arbitration places them at a considerable advantage where they win much more often than consumers. It also often allows them to not have to pay out as much as they would in court. In fact, some state judges have equated forced arbitration clauses to a "Get out Jail Free" card.

Forced arbitration allows corporations to choose an arbitrator to settle disagreements, but corporations often choose arbitrators who tend to rule in their favor. Many arbitrators may feel pressure to rule in favor of corporations because they make up their client base.

On average, consumers win arbitration about 20 percent of the time, according to a 2015 study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Studies have also found that consumers get an average of 12 cents for every dollar they claim.

The personal injury attorneys at D'Amico & Pettinicchi encourage you to read the AAJ report to learn more about how forced arbitration strips away your rights and helps corporations take advantage of innocent people.

Because arbitration agreements are often hidden deep within contracts, it is important that you read through contracts and other documents you sign to be sure you are not unknowingly signing away your rights.