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News Clips


Baltimore Sun (Maryland), July 24, 2017

OPINION: Even if You Win in Arbitration, You Still Lose

Auto dealers and finance companies are not the only corporations using forced arbitration clauses with class action bans. Contracts for bank accounts, credit cards, payday loans and student loans have the clauses too. Other service members have also been hit with forced arbitration. That’s why earlier this month, the CFPB issued a rule that restores the ability of consumers to band together when financial companies violate the law and hurt hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. The Military Coalition, representing 5.5 million service members, supports the rule. The United States Constitution gives each American the right to a jury trial. But fine-print corporate contracts take that right away. Members of Congress should oppose their colleagues’ efforts to kill the arbitration rule because consumers — including service members like Prentice Martin-Bowen — deserve their day in court too.

USA Today, July 23, 2017

EDITORIAL: Let Consumers Sue Banks

A decade ago, many of the biggest banks charged excessive overdraft fees, as much as $35 a pop, under overdraft protection that was automatic, even for customers who didn’t request it. Some banks also added a little trick: They processed the highest-dollar transactions first, emptying accounts faster. A few small purchases could end up costing a customer multiple overdraft fees in one day. Class actions helped publicize and end this manipulative practice at some banks. Wells Fargo, however, is still claiming that it can’t be sued because of an arbitration clause, even though a federal judge in Florida rejected that defense. The bank has dragged customers through federal courts for years. The CFPB’s new rule would prevent this kind of mistreatment and offer consumers some recourse against powerful financial institutions. It should be allowed to stand.

Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 22, 2017

OPINION: Consumer Bureau’s New Rule Will Better Protect Consumers from the Abusive Financial Companies

Sen. Dean Heller is leading the charge to overturn a rule, just issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that would prove very helpful to Nevada consumers if allowed to survive. Faced with these debates, Congress in 2010 created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and ordered it to study the use of arbitration in connection with consumer financial products and services. It found that many consumer financial products and services mandate arbitration; that virtually all the arbitration clauses prevent consumers from entering into class actions; and that most consumers covered by such clauses have no clue they have agreed to forgo litigation or class actions. The bureau’s new rule reflects years of study, but the story is not over. In addition to pushing for the bill co-sponsored by Sen. Heller, lobbyists for finance companies are now working hard to get the comptroller of the currency or the courts to knock out the regulation before it even goes into effect. It is time for Nevadans to reach out to their congressional representatives to ensure that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rule is preserved so that Nevada financial consumers can be better protected.

American Banker, July 21, 2017

Why CFPB’s arbitration rule is essential (two words: Wells Fargo)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s long-awaited financial arbitration rule is being opposed by banking lobbyists, and a resolution has already been filed in Congress to block it. This would be a grave mistake.

U.S. News and World Report, July 21, 2017

OPINION: The GOP’s Foolish Decision

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged Congress to kill not only this regulation, but every CFPB rule, on grounds the agency is unconstitutional and therefore all of its actions are invalid. The GOP would be terribly foolish to go down this road, for three reasons. Forced arbitration is: 1) unconscionable, 2) unconstitutional and 3) a big political loser.

Huffington Post, July 20, 2017

OPINION: Blocking the Courts: The Trump Triple Threat

One thing seems undeniably true about the health care bill’s demise: when the public has a right to something, it’s pretty hard for politicians to take that away. But things aren’t always so simple, especially when the public may be unaware of what officials are up to. Take the issue of access to the courts. Most American’s believe they have a fundamental right to go to court if they’ve been hurt by corporate or other misconduct. Voters certainly did not send politicians to Washington to block that access. But in three separate instances so far, the Trump administration (with Congress’ help) has begun doing just that, and the general public has no idea.

Huffington Post, July 20, 2017

OPINION: Wall Street’s Washington Friends Aim to Kill New Consumer Protection

With the ink still wet on a new regulation to protect the little guy or gal against big financial predators, congressional Republicans are already moving to get rid of it. On July 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a rule to prohibit banks, credit card companies, and other lenders that break the law from stripping customers of the right to hold them accountable in class action lawsuits. The regulation is in response to the “ripoff clauses” that financial firms often bury in the fine print of contracts, forcing consumers to seek redress for misconduct on their own through secret arbitration proceedings. Most people only learn about these clauses when they become the victim of illegal financial behavior.

Consumerist, July 20, 2017

Lawmakers Who Want To Hand ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ Card To Banks Made Millions From Financial Sector Last Year

As expected, Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would overturn new rules intended to make sure that bank and credit card customers aren’t stripped of their right to file lawsuits in a court of law. Not surprisingly, many of the politicians pushing this pro-bank bill recently received significant financial support from the financial sector. We mentioned in our original story, before the legislation was introduced, that the two main sponsors — Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX) and Sen. Mike Crapo (ID) — received a total of $6 million in campaign contributions from the financial sector in 2016, with $1.9 million going to Hensarling’s campaign and $4.1 million going to Crapo. But among those supporting the legislation to roll back the new protections on bank and credit card customers, these two lawmakers aren’t even the largest beneficiaries of the financial industry.

Washington Post, July 20, 2017

Republicans are working to keep you from your day in court

Normally, Republicans are in favor of giving consumers more choices. Normally, Republicans are all about law and order. And normally, Republicans claim to be strong defenders of the Constitution. For some reason, though, the idea of giving consumers the choice to participate in a court of law — a right enshrined in the Seventh Amendment — leaves some GOP legislators quaking in their loafers. That’s the implication of a resolution introduced in both the Senate and House on Thursday. While you were busy pondering President Trump’s views of Napoleon, members of Congress were working to keep you from your day in court.

The Hill, July 20, 2017

GOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule

The new CFPB rule forces companies to write arbitration clauses in ways that wouldn’t prevent consumers from joining class-action lawsuits. It also forces financial firms to hand over information about “initial claims and counterclaims, answers to these claims and counterclaims, and awards issued in arbitration.”

Reuters, July 18, 2017

New U.S. Rule on Class Actions Enters Critical Period

On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule abolishing “mandatory arbitration” clauses will be published in a directory of regulatory actions called the Federal Register, starting the timer for two possible ways of undoing it. The rule bans companies from requiring customers to sign agreements when opening new accounts that they will not join a group lawsuit, or class action, in the event of a dispute. Critics say such lawsuits only benefit lawyers and that arbitration is a quick, cost-effective alternative to the courts. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is currently looking into its options, including litigation, but has not decided its response, a spokeswoman for the lobbying group told Reuters. It could announce one as soon as Wednesday, when it holds an event on arbitration.

Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2017

Financial Regulators Edge Closer to Showdown Over Arbitration Rule

Two financial regulators edged closer to a showdown Tuesday over a new rule easing the ability for consumers to band together and sue banks. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee, in a Tuesday letter said it was too late to delay a rule barring mandatory arbitration between companies and consumers. Mr. Cordray’s letter—his second and the fourth between the two officials—said he has already signed and sent the final rule to a government regulations site. He also said Mr. Noreika’s claim that the arbitration rule could affect the safety of and soundness of the financial system was “so plainly frivolous.”

Vice, July 17, 2016

Wells Fargo Is Trying to Bury Another Massive Scandal

It turns out Wells Fargo has a long history of using arbitration to evade legal scrutiny. In fact, for the past six years, Wells has tried to use arbitration to block a class-action suit that every other major bank in America long ago settled. This has not only delayed restitution for regular customers, but revealed exactly why Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) moved to eliminate class-action bans through arbitration clauses earlier this month: It hands big banks a license to steal with impunity.

St. Louis Dispatch, July 17, 2017

EDITORIAL: Fighting to make sure that the little guy gets crushed

If banks and other credit providers abuse customers as a group, those harmed should be able to fight back as a group. Had the CFPB not taken its action, banks and credit providers would be able to continue abusing and bullying consumers with impunity. Key House Republicans believe, however, that it’s the CFPB, not banks and credit companies, that needs restraining…Exactly whom they’re fighting for isn’t quite clear, but it’s sure not consumers victimized by financial corporate behemoths. All the companies want is their unfair advantage. It’s strange the lengths to which some in Congress will go to fight against the little guy.

The Register-Guard (Oregon), July 17, 2017

EDITORIAL: On the side of consumers

In disputes with financial services companies, few consumers opt to go through a lengthy mandatory arbitration process, which often has the only option some companies allowed. Also, class action lawsuits tend to end abuses. If a company loses, it not only often has to pay a significant amount of money, the settlement usually requires it to quit doing whatever landed it in court.

New York Daily News, July 16, 2017

EDITORIAL: True populist economics: Save this consumer protection rule

These provisions make millions of consumers with complaints about fraudulent corporate practices succumb to secret tribunals under arbitrators handpicked by the very financial institutions that caused them their misery.

New York Times, July 15, 2017

EDITORIAL: Forcing Banks to Fight Fair

Even if the Republicans do not overturn the new rule, bank lobbying groups will most likely file legal challenges to delay or block it. If it comes to that, the absurdity of the industry’s going to court to argue that aggrieved customers should not be allowed to go to court will hopefully not be lost on the judge.

Tulsa World (Oklahoma), July 14, 2017

A little-known clause was keeping consumers from suing companies. Not anymore.

Although arbitration sounds like a middle-ground and cost-effective solution, it has turned into a David-and-Goliath story in many cases.

New York Times, July 13, 2017

Letters: Financial Goliaths and Consumer Davids

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s adoption of a new rule prohibiting mandatory arbitration in consumers’ disputes with banks adds to the growing recognition that regulation is needed to ensure that contracts enhance, rather than restrict, individual liberty. Since Emancipation in the 19th century, American courts have viewed the act of entering into a contract as synonymous with liberty.  Yet, by the mid-20th century, the Supreme Court accepted that society needs safeguards around contracts because liberty “requires the protection of law against the evils which menace the health, safety, morals and welfare of the people.” Absent the assurance of legal rights, contracts can be used to abuse one party’s dominance over another. By mandating arbitration of claims brought by individual consumers, corporations have used contracts to sidestep the rule of law.

Fortune, July 13, 2017

How This Rule Prevents Your Bank From Ripping You Offf

Earlier this week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule that prohibits financial institutions from including class action wavers in arbitration clauses in their consumer contracts. In other words, if a bank cheats its customers, as Wells Fargo did, it’ll now be easier for customers to take action.

The Hill, July 13, 2017

Consumer bureau moves to prevent the next Wells Fargo-style scandal

Big banks and payday lenders bury “ripoff clauses” in the fine print of take-it-or-leave-it contracts to block class-action lawsuits and push all disputes into biased and secret proceedings rigged in favor of companies. Since few consumers can afford to fight small-dollar disputes by themselves, banks can trick and trap customers with illegal charges and then pocket billions in stolen money.

Legal Reader, July 13, 2017

Uber Drivers Win Conditional Certification in Early Stages of Class Action Lawsuit

Disgruntled Uber drivers won a tentative victory in their quest to be classified as company employees rather than independent contractors. A federal court in North Carolina gave a conditional green light for litigation to proceed as a class action lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The New York Times reports that as many as 18,000 current and former drivers who opted out of an arbitration agreement might be eligible to join the legal battle. If successful, the outcome could impact the 600,000 drivers Uber has plying roadways across the country. The brunt of Uber drivers around the country wouldn’t be able to participate in the case even if it does proceed past the discovery phase of litigation, considering that many waived their right to challenge the company in court while signing their contracts.

The Nation, July 11, 2017

There is One Federal Agency That is Still Doing Its Job

In the final analysis, banning mandatory arbitration and restoring consumer rights to take part in class-action lawsuits is the right thing to do, and Cordray said as much in a conference call with reporters. “My obligation as the director of the consumer bureau is to act for the protection of consumers and in the public interest,” Cordray said. “In deciding to issue this rule, that is what I believe I have done.”

Reuters, July 11, 2017

U.S. Senator Seeks Legislation to Undo Ban on Arbitration Clauses

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton said he has begun the legislative process to eliminate a new ban on mandatory arbitration clauses established by a government regulator. Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, is attempting to eliminate new rules completed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that ban banks and credit card companies from including language in contracts barring class-action lawsuits by consumers. Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, said he will draft a resolution to allow Congress to eliminate the rule through the Congressional Review Act.

Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2017

CFPB’s Long-Awaited Arbitration Rule May Be a Short-Lived Victory for Consumers

Consumers had good reason to celebrate after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after years of preparation, issued a rule blocking credit card companies, banks and other financial firms from putting roadblocks in the way of customers joining class-action lawsuits. It’s a big deal. It’s all but certain that Republican lawmakers in control of the House and Senate will move quickly to overturn the rule as part of their ongoing efforts to cripple the consumer-watchdog agency and create a more business-friendly regulatory landscape. Because God forbid consumers actually have the power to hold big companies accountable for unfair or unethical practices.

Money Magazine, July 11, 2017

CFPB Just Issued a New Rule That Would Protect Consumers From Predatory Fine Print

The new rule will ban a number of major financial institutions—a group that includes banks, credit card companies, student lenders, payday lenders, debt collectors, and credit reporting companies—from imposing any contractual fine print that would stop consumers from banning together to bring a class action lawsuit.

New York Times, July 10, 2017

U.S. Agency Moves to Allow Class-Action Lawsuits Against Financial Firms

The nation’s consumer watchdog adopted a rule that would pry open the courtroom doors for millions of Americans, by prohibiting financial firms from forcing them into arbitration in disputes over their bank and credit card accounts. The action, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, would deal a serious blow to banks and other financial firms, freeing consumers to band together in class-action lawsuits that could cost the institutions billions of dollars. At a time when Dodd-Frank has come under attack, the arbitration initiative from the consumer finance agency — which operates independently from the Trump administration — is a provocative stand against the prevailing political tide in Washington. The rule, which would take effect 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register, does not explicitly outlaw arbitration, but industry lawyers say it will effectively kill the practice.

Law 360, July 10, 2017

CFPB Rule Blocks Class Action Bans in Arbitration Clauses

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a final rule banning companies from using arbitration clauses to bar consumers from filing class action lawsuits, setting up a fight with banks, credit card and other companies, and potentially the Trump administration.

Newsmax, July 10, 2017

Wells Fargo Sham Accounts Cost Bank another $142 Million

The Wells Fargo sham accounts scandal just cost the bank another $142 million after a San Francisco judge ruled a proposed class action settlement is “fair, reasonable and adequate.” “The settlement requires Wells Fargo to repay the fees charged to class members by Wells Fargo for unauthorized accounts, and provide millions of dollars of additional monetary relief to the class,” said Derek Loeser, a partner at the law firm. “We believe this is an outstanding result obtained for the benefit of a proposed nationwide class, notwithstanding Wells Fargo’s effort to block the class action with an arbitration clause.

Huffington Post, July 9, 2017

DeVos Should Stop Stalling, Enforce Obama Rules to Protect Students From Fraud

This week, the Department of Education is holding hearings, in DC and Dallas, at which members of the public can comment on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s announcement that she will conduct a “Regulatory Reset“ – a new round of rule-making proceedings to reconsider two college accountability rules issued by the Department in the Obama Administration. The problem has been made worse because for-profit colleges impose forced arbitration clauses that keep bad practices concealed and unpunished. And because there has been almost no debt relief for students who were defrauded by colleges they believed had the Department’s seal of approval.

Frontiersman (Alaska), July 9, 2017

LTE: Wells Fargo Took Us for a Ride

For more than a decade, Wells Fargo was opening fake accounts across Alaska, racking up 5,970 victims of their fraudulent business practices. To date, the bank has avoided accountability for its wrongdoing by invoking fine-print forced arbitration clauses. No one signed the arbitration agreement on these fake accounts but, incredibly, Wells Fargo argues the signatures on customers’ legitimate accounts carry over to the fake ones. By doing so, they are denying Alaskans their day in court. I can only hope Wells Fargo is forced to abandon this practice after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau releases its rule to limit the use of forced arbitration in financial contracts this summer, and that our representatives support the rule on our behalf. But the damage here is already done.

Morning Consult, July 7, 2017

OPINION: Courts, Regulators Must Stop Wells Fargo’s Rigged Arbitration System

The country’s largest banks, such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, eventually made amends and settled with their customers; all told, the total settlements were more than $600 million on just the largest banks alone. Wells Fargo, on the other hand, refuses to reimburse its customers. Instead, the bank has spent years trying to force its customers into a complicated arbitration process, which would in reality provide little chance of recovering the money that was stolen through these overdraft fees. According to a study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, most customers simply give up when forced to arbitrate, especially for small-dollar claims, considering the time and expense. In the handful of arbitration claims filed in 2010 and 2011, only 9 percent of consumers with affirmative claims obtained relief, recovering only 12 cents of every dollar claimed. In contrast, 93 percent of companies won their claims in arbitration, recovering an average of 98 cents on the dollar.

Mediate, July 7, 2017

California Supreme Court Sets Up Showdown at U.S. Supreme Court over Arbitration Agreements

In April 2017, the California Supreme Court unanimously held in the case of McGill v. Citibank NA that an arbitration agreement waiving the right to public injunctive relief in any forum contradicts California public policy.  It held that such a waiver is thus unenforceable under California state law.  The California Supreme Court reversed a state appellate court decision to the contrary and this battle will almost certainly continue in the United States Supreme Court.  The McGill case has gained a great deal of attention and should be of interest to many people in the ADR community.

Washington Post, July 6, 2017

Attorney General Sue DeVos Over Delay of Rule to Protect Students from Predatory Colleges

A group of 19 state attorneys general are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying an overhaul of rules to erase the federal student debt of borrowers defrauded by colleges. “Since day one, Secretary DeVos has sided with for-profit school executives against students and families drowning in unaffordable student loans,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. The first set of changes that were supposed to take effect this month would have, for instance, limit the ability of schools to require students to sign mandatory arbitration agreement and class action waivers that are commonly used by for-profit colleges to thwart legal action by students.

The Hill, July 5, 2017

OPINION: CFPB Protects Americans from Predatory Loan Sharks

The bureau has fundamentally changed the mortgage market by cracking down on illegal foreclosure practices, establishing a new standard that requires lenders to verify borrowers’ ability to repay their loans and making the terms more straight-forward and easier to understand. It levied a record fine against Wells Fargo for opening accounts without its customers’ permission, and it is working now to protect families from abusive payday loans and unfair forced arbitration actions. Instead of resorting to hyperbolic rhetoric about tyranny, they should consider the experience of consumers that have had their freedom constrained by financial companies that send them down an unending pit of debt and despair, deny them their day in court through mandatory arbitration clauses, hound them for debts they don’t owe, deny prepaid card users access to their own funds, or foreclose on responsible homeowners because of deceptive fine print or falsified documents.

Reuters, July 5, 2017

Dodd-Frank leaves muddle on forced arbitration of whistleblower claims

Whistleblowers who claim they’re entitled to Dodd-Frank’s enhanced procedural and back pay provisions can be forced into arbitration, even though Dodd-Frank itself protects the right to sue for whistleblowers with claims under the less generous Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Fortune, July 5, 2017

Beyond Pledges and Tweets: How Can Venture Capital Fix Its SexualHarassmentt Problem?

Forced arbitration deprives employees of their constitutional rights, and it forces employees who have been treated unlawfully to keep silent about what they have experienced. It is entirely in the interests of the company, and not the employee. It prevents harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other unlawful treatment that employees have experienced from ever becoming public.

Daily Camera (Colorado), July 4, 2017

OPINION: Living with the nightmare of construction defects

Arbitration is not the benign process Martin portrays. Arbitration is a private court, which can be as expensive and time-consuming as a lawsuit. Not only that, it denies homeowners their basic legal rights of taking their dispute to a jury should they need to. Builders prefer arbitration so the details of their construction defects stay behind closed doors and are not part of a public record as in a lawsuit. We had naively signed our house purchase contract with an arbitration clause believing, as Martin proclaimed, that arbitration is a cheaper and faster solution to resolving disputes. Guess again. Several lawyers told us it would cost around $50,000 to take our case to arbitration, not exactly an affordable process for a family already in the red for medical bills and reconstruction costs. Just as disturbing, our purchase document contained Meritage’s arbitration rules that we must follow, including mandating their own arbitration firm, limiting the number of our witnesses, and requiring that all details must be hidden from the public.

Nerd Wallet, July 3, 2017

How to Read the Fine Print of Credit Card Offers

Reading mouse print and legal jargon may not be your idea of fun. But it’s worth the effort to examine terms and conditions of a card offer. And it’s easier if you know what to look for among those few thousand words. Better to know the details upfront than incur surprise fees or not qualify for the perks and rewards you expect. Besides terms and conditions, look for other fine print. Cardholder agreements. The fine print doesn’t contain all bad news. Many of the unsung goodies lie within. You might find details on such card benefits as purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and car rental insurance. However, it also probably includes details about binding arbitration — your promise not to sue the card issuer in court. Consumer advocates say arbitration favors issuers.

Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina), July 1, 2017

Mike Wells: Be prepared to monitor loved ones care in care facilities

Many facilities require the admitted person to sign a contract that contains an arbitration clause, which means that many, if not all, potential disputes, including claims for negligence, will go before a panel of arbitrators rather than a jury. Although serious negligent care incidents are generally very rare in good facilities, experts from the care side and advocates feel these provisions are a significant advantage to the care facility.

Ars Technica, June 30, 2017

AT&T: Forced arbitration isn’t forced because no one has to buy service

AT&T is denying that its contracts include “forced arbitration” clauses, even though customers must agree to the clauses in order to obtain Internet or TV service.

The Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi), June 28, 2017

Wells Fargo seeks arbitration for a second lawsuit filed against the bank

Wells Fargo wants a judge to dismiss a Jackson couple’s federal lawsuit against the bank and a home windows company alleging fraud and send the case to arbitration. In response to the federal lawsuit filed last month by Wilbert and Esther McCoy in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Wells Fargo Financial National Bank has filed a court motion saying the couple agreed to arbitrate any dispute when they signed a credit card agreement.

Reuters, June 27, 2017

California moves forward on letting customers sue banks, inspired by Wells Fargo

California took another step toward allowing state residents to sue financial institutions for fraud, rather than letting banks force customers to settle disputes in arbitration, as a bill inspired by last year’s Wells Fargo scandal passed a key Assembly committee. The bill has already passed the state Senate. The full Assembly, the legislature’s lower chamber, is expected to approve it in a vote toward the end of August, after the summer recess.

Mic, June 27, 2017

Surprise! You might be owed money. How to get cash back from class-action lawsuit settlements

Although class actions are an important consumer protection tool, courts have been chipping away at class-action rights. In 2011’s AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to substantially limit class actions. In that case, a couple brought suit against AT&T Mobility for allegedly charging $30.22 in sales tax for what it had advertised as a “free phone.” AT&T’s contract mandated arbitration as a legal remedy, eliminating class actions as a means of seeking relief. Because California law prevented class-action waivers in one-sided contracts where consumers have no bargaining power, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the plaintiffs’ right to sue in court. However, the Supreme Court said “states cannot enforce such exceptions to federal law favoring arbitration provisions,” as USA Today reported at the time.

New York Post, June 27, 2017

Man who spoke out against Snapchat doesn’t want to be muzzled

A former Snap Inc. executive who accused CEO Evan Spiegel of saying Snapchat is “only for rich people” while fibbing about the app’s user numbers doesn’t want to be muzzled. Anthony Pompliano, who claims he was fired for challenging user metrics issued by Snap in the buildup to its IPO this year, asserts the company forced him into signing an arbitration agreement designed to prevent a public airing of his case in court that’s so “one-sided” it’s unenforceable. Papers filed in California federal court also assert Pompliano’s whistleblower claims cannot be arbitrated because they’re subject to provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

CNN, June 26, 2017

Women sent Silicon Valley a message. Will it listen?

Hot on the heels of Uber chief Travis Kalanick’s resignation in the wake of various sexual assault scandals at his company, Binary Capital has announced that co-founder Justin Caldbeck is on indefinite leave after multiple allegations of inappropriate sexual advances — allegations that have been reportedly accumulating for years. The ripple effect after Kalanick’s resignation has been significant and impactful, an acknowledgment that the treatment of women does matter and proving that one woman’s story can make a difference. There will be more Caldbecks in the months to come, and that’s because more women will feel empowered and emboldened to speak up. That’s not to say the problem is solved: As Fowler has pointed out, bad behavior will still be enabled by confidentiality agreements and forced arbitration — this, in tech and elsewhere — and there will be men who think themselves powerful enough to be immune to charges of impropriety.

Buffalo Law Journal, June 26, 2017

Uber drivers: Proceed with caution

As Uber faces a storm of legal action, the ride-sharing company is readying to open operations in the Buffalo area. With hundreds of Western New Yorkers signing up to drive for Uber, a look at the fine print of what they are signing up for may be in order. Under a mandatory arbitration clause in the terms of use, drivers could be in for a surprise should something go wrong with their experience with the company. When drivers sign up to work for the company, they agree to several provisions when it comes to possible litigation with Uber, said former Magistrate Judge Carol Heckman, now a partner at Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP. She specializes in arbitration.

Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2017

You shouldn’t have to give up your right to sue to get a job

Arbitration can be an effective tool to resolve contract disputes without going to court. But employers shouldn’t be able to force workers into arbitration in contravention of worker protections established in federal laws and regulations, and they certainly shouldn’t make getting a job contingent on giving up the right to seek redress in the courts. Unfortunately, both have become regular occurrences, but a case now being briefed before the Supreme Court can — and should — fix that.

Washington Post, June 26, 2017

OPINION: Why big business keeps winning at the Supreme Court

The success of business interests before the nation’s highest court is not due simply to a conservative majority of justices. Neil M. Gorsuch participated in only a handful of cases, and for most of the term, there were an even number of liberals and conservatives. Yet the notoriously ideologically divided justices came together this term, as they often do, in cases involving business. Indeed, the most remarkable thing about this term was that it was liberal justices who led the charge for business. The court’s opinion in the debt collectors case was written by Stephen G. Breyer. Elena Kagan wrote the opinion in the arbitration case. Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion in the class action case. Sonia Sotomayor wrote the opinion in the securities fraud case. The court’s near-consensus in business cases is tied to a larger phenomenon: the abandonment by progressives and liberals of their traditional focus on issues of economic justice and income inequality. Such issues were once central to liberal legal thought.

Los Angeles Daily News, June 22, 2017

Why we can’t lose the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Mike Feuer

The Week, June 20, 2017

How a tiny law meant for merchants destroyed the class-action lawsuit

Star-Tribune, June 19, 2017

Wells Fargo scandal grows more political

Politico, June 16, 2017

Justice Department switches sides in Supreme Court case

LA Times, June 15, 2017

Trump team halts rules meant to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges

National Law Review, June 15, 2017

‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!’ Class Action Waiver Battle Kicks Off At Supreme Court

Des Moines Register, June 13, 2017

Editorial: Trump protects nursing homes at seniors’ expense

Military Times, June 13, 2017

Advocates: Too soon to tell whether DoD’s lending-rate rules have help troops’ bottom line

Standard-Examiner (UT), June 11, 2017

In the House, lawmakers just made it clear you don’t matter. Banks do

arsTechnica, June 8, 2017

AT&T uses forced arbitration to overcharge customers, senators say

New York Times, June 8, 2017
House Bill Would Dismantle an Array of Dodd-Frank Reforms

Mother Jones, June 7, 2017
House Republicans Are Trying to Pass the Most Dangerous Wall Street Deregulation Ever

Consumerist, June 7, 2017
Trump Administration Will Allow Nursing Homes to Strip Residents of Legal Rights

Deseret News, June 6, 2017
OPINION: Wells Fargo case shows how fine print can erode freedom

Money Magazine, June 6, 2017
The Trump Adminstration Wants to Kill a Rule Protecting Elderly From Nursing Home Abuses

Reuters, June 6, 2017
Commentary: A kinder, gentler arbitration process for U.S. financial consumers

Bloomberg BNA, June 6, 2017
Medicare Backtracks on Long-Term Care Arbitration Rule

Modern Healthcare, June 5, 2017
CMS lifts ban on nursing home arbitration agreement

The Gazette, June 5, 2017
Colorado Supreme court sides with builders in arbitration over construction defects

McKnight’s, June 5, 2017
SCOTUS grants provider win in arbitration clause dispute

Denver Post, June 2, 2017
Repealing Dodd-Frank is bad for Colorado, especially military service members and veterans

Lake County News, May 30, 2017
Bill in response to Wells Fargo scandal passes State Senate

Bloomberg BNA, May 24, 2017
Lawmakers Ask Justices to Take Up Veterans’ Workplace Rights

Reuters, May 18, 2017
Fate of Ailes harassment lawsuits unclear after his death

The Press Democrat, May 18, 2017
Editorial: Opening the courthouse door to defrauded customers

LA Times, May 16, 2017
California lawmakers want to rein in Wells Fargo’s arbitration clause. But can they? 

Reuters, May 11, 2017
U.S. consumer watchdog’s prepaid-card rule survives Congress challenge

Clarion-Ledger, May 11, 2017
Wells Fargo deception lawsuit goes to arbitration 

The Morning Call, May 10, 2017
Washington has started its attack on your consumer protections

Des Moines Register, May 9, 2017
Editorial: Who will hold Wells Fargo accountable? 

Buzzfeed News, April 20, 2017
Why It’s So Hard For Riders To Sue Uber

CNN Money, April 12, 2017
Read the fine print: 4 ways you sign away your rights

Slate, April 11, 2017
The United Scandal Has a Message for Democrats: Americans Want Consumer Protection

New York Times, April 9, 2017

Loans ‘Designed to Fail’: States Say Navient Preyed on Students

Arbitration clauses, buried in the fine print of loan contracts, have largely thwarted students’ legal challenges. But the attorneys general are not bound by those clauses. Their cases may be the only avenue left for borrowers to get relief.

Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2017
Here’s why Wells Fargo forces its customers into arbitration: It wins most of the time

Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2017
Wells Fargo’s $110-million settlement is still not enough, lawyers say

USA Today, March 29, 2017
Wells Fargo to pay $110 million to settle fake account suit

Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2017
Customers still seem wary of doing business with Wells Fargo-with good reason

Money Magazine, March 20, 2017
What Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Mean for Your Consumer Rights

TIME, March 8, 2017
Gretchen Carlson: How Arbitration Clauses Allow Sexual Harassment to Continue

StarTribune, March 8, 2017
Gretchen Carlson says ending mandatory arbitration ‘has become my mission’

Law360, March 8, 2017
Uber Drivers Forced Into Arbitration In Overtime Row

Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2017
Sherman reintroduces bill to let Wells Fargo customers sue over unwanted accounts

Omaha World-Herald, March 6, 2017
James Goddard: Consumer protections are needed

Consumerist, March 1, 2017
Wells Fargo Tries, Fails to Explain Why Customers Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Sue Over Fake Accounts

Washington Post, February 27, 2017
Hundreds allege sex harassment, discrimination at Kay and Jared jewelry company

Consumerist, February 23, 2017
Uber Driver Claims Company Keeps More Money Than It’s Supposed To 

Star-Tribune, January 29, 2017
Senior home arbitration clauses can cause confusion, block lawsuits


Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2016
Wells Fargo’s actions should persuade lawmakers to rein in forced arbitration

Sacramento Bee, December 8, 2016
Wells Fargo victims deserve their day in court

Reuters, November 29, 2016

Warren slams Wells Fargo over arbitration position

Money Magazine, November 14, 2016
Credit Card Companies Want You to Give Up Your Right to Sue Them. Here’s How to Opt Out

CBS News, November 7, 2016

One man’s $100,000 journey through arbitration

The financial services industry bills arbitration as a “prompt and inexpensive means of resolving issues.” Yet for consumers who go through the process, it can end up far more expensive and time-consuming than one would expect from that description.

Consumerist, November 7, 2016
Court: Nursing Homes Can Continue Stripping New Residents Of Their Right To Day In Court

Money Magazine, November 4, 2016
Why You Can’t Take Airbnb to Court Even If You’re Discriminated Against

StarTribune, October 22, 2016
Debate over forced arbitration finds its second wind, with help from events like Wells Fargo scandal

Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2016

Arbitration Rule Change Raises Risks for Nursing Homes

The Dalton Citizen (Dalton, Georgia), October 11, 2016

Legal clauses keeping Wells Fargo out of court

MediaPost (New York), October 10, 2016

Consumers Press for Right to Sue Turn in Federal Court

Minnesota Public Radio, October 4, 2016

Minnesota attorney general: Wells Fargo should let clients sue

The Epoch Times, October 4, 2016

Homes for Improved Care in Nursing Homes as New Rule Allows Lawsuits

Las Vegas Review-Journal, October 4, 2016

Editorial: Buried in the ‘fine print’

The West Virginia Record, October 4, 2016

The Obama Administration’s last-minute attacks on arbitration

USA Today, October 3, 2016

Clinton slams Wells Fargo, says she’ll fight consumer ‘gotchas’

Los Angeles Times, October 3, 2016

Senator to push bill to let Wells Fargo customers sue over unauthorized accounts

Consumer Reports, October 3, 2016

Moving Into a Nursing Home? You Will Soon Have More Rights

The Hill, October 3, 2016

Rooftop solar needs to clean up its act

USA Today, September 29, 2016

Wells Fargo CEO grilled by House panel

Consumer Reports, September 29, 2016
Why You Might Not Be Able to Sue Your Bank

U.S. News & World Report, September 28, 2016
Keeping Sexual Assualt Under Wraps

Reuters, September 26, 2016

U.S. House panel lambastes Wells Fargo boss over phantom accounts

Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2016
How Wells Fargo exploited a binding arbitration clause to deflect customers’ fraud allegations

Huffington Post, September 26, 2016

The Infuriating Reason Wells Fargo Got Away With Its Massive Scam For So Long

U.S. News and World Report, September 26, 2016

Scandal–and Opportunity

NBC-4 (Los Angeles), September 22, 2016

How Do Arbitration Clauses Work?

USA Today, September 21, 2016

Elizabeth Warren laid the smackdown on Wells Fargo CEO

The Hill, September 20, 2016

Why Wells Fargo got away with it for so long

Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2016

Why Wells Fargo customers can’t sue over bogus accounts

The Michigan Daily, September 20, 2016

Op-ed: Brent Kim: The fine print of for-profit schools

Legal News Line, September 20, 2016

Members of Congress want safe harbor provision in CFPB’s final arbitration rule

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA), September 19, 2016

Colliton: Large banks are removing your right to a jury trial

Boston Globe August 22, 2016
Consumers have a right to go to court

Money Magazine, August 16, 2016
Putting an End to Mandatory Arbitration Won’t Be Easy

Money Magazine, June 28, 2016
How Companies Block Your Day in Court

The Oregonian, May 7, 2017

Bankrupt cancer survivor gets shock: $300 loan balloons into $40,000 debt in 2 years

Banks has run up against a practice in the payday and title loan industry that consumer advocates are trying to change. The consumer agreements typically include a requirement that any dispute go before a private arbitrator of the company’s choosing.


The New York Times, November 2, 2015
In Religious Arbitration, Scripture is the Rule of Law

The New York Times, November 1, 2015
In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System’

The New York Times, October 31, 2015
Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice

The New York Times, March 16, 2015
Failed by Law and Courts, Troops Come Home to Repossessions, March 6, 2015
Consumers need help in fight against lenders

StarTribune, March 4, 2015
Lawsuit claiming overtime violations filed against TCF

The Washington Post, March 3, 2015
Why it’s nearly impossible for you to sue your credit card company

The Street, Feb. 5, 2015
Even Snowden Would Have His Hands Full Cracking Wall Street’s Arbitration Secrets

ThinkProgress, Feb. 4, 2015
$480 Million In For-Profit College Debts Are Actually Worth Less Than $8 Million

Consumerist, Feb. 3, 2015
Deal Provides $480 Million In Debt Relief To Current & Former Corinthian Colleges Students

The New York Times, Jan. 30, 2015
When Consumers Give Up Their Right to Trial in Financial Disputes

Think Advisor, Jan. 22, 2015
FINRA Arbitration Data Under Fire Again

Consumerist, Jan. 22, 2015
Will New Owner Of Everest University, WyoTech Continue With Old Owner’s Sketchy Practice?

Investment News
Investor, consumer groups call on FINRA to release more arbitration data


Main Street, Dec 23, 2014
ECMC Channels Corinthian as It Learns the Tricks of the For-Profit College Trade

Cleveland Plain Dealer, Nov. 28, 2014
Arbitration – what you don’t know about fine print can hurt you: Plain Dealing

Reuters, Nov. 19, 2014
U.S. entrepreneur considered suing Uber over tracking activities

Slate, Nov. 17, 2014
By Clicking on This Article, You Agree to …

Salon, Nov. 7 2014
Corporate America’s oily trick: How big business uses “yellow-dog contracts” to crush basic rights

20 Minutos (in Spanish), Oct. 30, 2014
 Arbitraje laboral: una ‘justicia privada’ cuyos fallos suelen favorecer a las compañías ((Employment Arbitration, a ‘private justice,’ whose rulings often favor companies)

New York Times, Oct. 23, 2014
One-Third of Top Websites Restrict Customers’ Right to Sue

The Street, Oct. 8, 2014
The Fix for Biased Wall Street Arbitration? Make It More Like Court or Get Rid of It

New York Times, Sept. 25, 2014
A Murky Process Yields Cleaner Professional Records for Stockbrokers

Los Angeles Times, Aug. 8, 2014
Obama strikes a blow against the scourge of forced arbitration

Slate, Aug. 7, 2014
Obama Is on a Pro-Labor Roll 

CBS News, July 31, 2014
bama signs executive order protecting federal contractors’ employees

The New York Times, July 15, 2014
Arbitration Clauses Let American Apparel Hide Misconduct

The Nation, July 8, 2014
How Consumers Are Getting Screwed by Court-Enforced Arbitration

American Banker, May 13, 2014
Mandatory Arbitration Offers Bargain-Basement Justice

Consumer Reports, May 9, 2014
Ban the use of forced-arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts

Reuters, April 24, 2014
Schwab drops ban on clients filing class-action lawsuit

The New York Times, April 18, 2014
How Payday Lenders Prey Upon the Poor — and the Courts Don’t Help

Fair Arbitration Now
When General Mills Changed Its Legal Terms

Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2014
The Raiders strike back at cheerleaders: You can’t sue us, ladies

Consumerist, Feb. 27, 2014
9 Federal Laws That Companies Can Skirt By Using Forced Arbitration

Computerworld, Feb. 21, 2014
Dropbox changes its terms of service to stop class-action lawsuits

Bloomberg, Feb. 14, 2014
Feeling Ripped Off? Don’t Rely on the Street’s Arbitrators

San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 20, 2014
When the little guy gets shut out of court (with video), Jan. 15, 2014
Beware of contracts that take away your rights

Los Angeles Times, Jan. 14, 2014
Leveling the legal playing field: Limit forced arbitration

San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 12, 2014
Consumer advocates seek details from arbitration firms

CBSAtlanta (with video), Jan. 7, 2014
Consumer advocates: Fine print could rob consumers of right to sue


New York Times, Dec. 29, 2013
A Tool Consumers Need

Talking Points Memo, Dec. 27, 2013
The Arbitration Trap

Los Angeles Times, Dec. 26, 2013
When the right to sue goes away

Consumerist, Dec. 12, 2013
CFPB Report Confirms That Banks & Credit Card Companies Are Taking Away Your Right To Sue

New York Times, Dec. 6, 2013
Warranty Clause Limits Hyundai Owners Rights, Dec. 4, 2013
Card issuers soften mandatory arbitration rules

Investment News, Sept. 15, 2013
BofA quashed on arbitration; Court denies request by bank, Merrill on overtime suit

The New York Times, Sept. 4, 2013, Schwab Case Casts Spotlight on Securities Arbitration and Its Flaws

Truthout, Aug. 29, 2013
“Horton” Hears a Stampeding Judicial Amendment

Consumerist, Aug. 22, 2013
Comcast Lawsuit Shows Why Mandatory Binding Arbitration Is Just Plain Evil

Consumerist, Aug. 21, 2013
TiVo Adds Mandatory Binding Arbitration For Customers: Here’s How To Opt Out

Investment News, Aug 18, 2013
Time to end mandatory arbitration

The Washington Times, June 16, 2013
When mandatory arbitration replaces litigation, consumers lose

The New York Times, June 14, 2013
Automakers Push Back Against Consumer Protections

Voice of San Diego, May 23, 2013
Justice for Sale, Part Two: Ignoring the Law

Voice of San Diego, Aug. 12, 2013
Judge Who Ruled Against Arbitration Activist Now an Arbitrator

Voice of San Diego, July 15, 2013
Billboard Seeks to Name and Shame in Arbitration Case

Voice of San Diego, July 5, 2013 Arbitration Results Will Stay Secret, for Now

The Huffington Post, June 21, 2013
Supreme Court Approves Use of Faux Arbitration to Eliminate Consumer Rights

Mother Jones, June 20, 2013
The Supreme Court Just Made It Easier for Big Business to Screw the Little Guy

The Atlantic Wire, June 20, 2013
The Problem with the Supreme Court’s AmEx Decision, Class Action, and You

Voice of San Diego, May 28, 2013
Justice for Sale, Part Three: The War on Consumer Class Actions

Hometown Source, May 7, 2013
 Franken reintroduces legislation to restore consumers, workers, and small businesses’ right to seek justice through court

Reuters via Chicago Tribune, May 3, 2013
States urge SEC to halt forced investor arbitrations, May 1, 2013
Arbitration: Strategies for fighting it

Reuters, April 30, 2013
Lawmakers urge U.S. SEC to bar forced Wall Street arbitration

InvestmentNews, April 21, 2013
Aguilar spot-on about mandatory arbitration

Reuters, April 16, 2013
U.S. SEC’s Aguilar urges end to mandatory arbitration agreements

The New York Times, April 1, 2013
After Boom-Boom Room, Fresh Tactics to Fight Bias

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, March 30, 2013
Hightower: Corporate kangaroo courts supplant our Seventh Amendment rights

Thomson Reuters News & Insight, March 21 2013
2nd Circuit squelches Title VII exception to mandatory arbitration

Automotive News, March 20 2013
U.S. scrutiny of dispute provisions in loan contracts threatens dealerships

The Nation, March 15, 2013
Small Print, Big Problem (Part II: Remedies)

The Nation, March 14, 2013
Small Print, Big Problem (Part I: Diagnosis)

DailyFinance, March 7, 2013
Forced Arbitration: Killing the Right to Sue Big Companies, One TOS Agreement at a Time

Thomson Reuters News & Insight, March 5, 2013
Analysis: SEC arbitration stance may leave investors in the lurch

New York Times, Feb. 28, 2013
Justices Appear Skeptical Over a Challenge to Required Arbitration

New York Times, Feb. 26, 2013
Schwab May Apply Class-Action Victory to Pending Cases

Mother Jones, Feb. 26, 2013
This Supreme Court Case Could Give Corporations Even More Power to Screw Consumers

Media Matters, Feb. 22, 2013
Media Cover Boat Disaster But Not The Supreme Court Case That Could Hand Even More Power To Corporations

National Law Journal, Feb. 12, 2013
Arbitration case this term could lead to broadest ruling against class actions

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