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Articles Tagged with arbitration

As part of an ongoing campaign by trial lawyers across America to end the abusive use of forced arbitration, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) has released a new report outlining how arbitration clauses stack the deck against American citizens.  The report entitled “FORCED ARBITRATION: HOW CORPORATIONS USE THE FINE PRINT TO BULLY AMERICANS” provides an in depth analysis of how corporations use arbitration clauses to deprive consumers, workers, students, and patients of their 7th Amendment right to trial by jury when they have been injured by a corporate wrongdoer.

Buried in credit card agreements, employment contracts, nursing home admission papers, or in click through agreements that come with online purchases, are arbitration clauses designed to prevent you from utilizing your constitutional right to a trial by jury.  Forced arbitration eliminates the right to hold corporations accountable in court when they injure someone or break the law.  Instead, these claims are funneled into a system designed by the same wrongdoers against whom the claim is being made.

Unlike lawsuits, where the parties are given the opportunity to conduct meaningful discovery, take depositions, and have disputes over issues decided by judges, forced arbitration is different.  There is no right to go to court, no right to a trial by jury, no right or a very limited right to conduct discovery, and no right to a judicial review.  In forced arbitration, usually one individual, the arbitrator, acts as the judge and jury without the traditional checks and balances that are afforded to the parties in a lawsuit.

A great injustice is taking place in this country:  the use of pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses in nursing home admissions contracts by the nursing home industry.  These clauses provide that victims of abuse and neglect in nursing homes give up their right to a jury trial. This directly undermines the spirit and intent of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987:  to improve the quality of care and clinical outcomes for our most vulnerable citizens.

Elderly nursing home residents and their spouses are being pressured or mislead into signing arbitration clauses, frequently when they lack the mental capacity, authority or true willingness to do so.  If arbitration was a level playing field and fair to both sides without any negative repercussions to the resident or family, does anyone really believe that the nursing home industry would feel the need to so aggressively enforce them and seek to bury these provisions within 50 pages of admissions materials?

Arbitration provisions lead to protracted litigation, not faster results or less expensive resolution of cases.  The nursing home industry uses them to stall cases, take appeals and delay justice.  An elderly surviving spouse may not live long enough to see justice when nursing home corporations take this approach.