Erin Brockovich, R.I.P.

| July - August 2008

Legal battles in which everyday Davids conquer corporate Goliaths may soon be just a memory, according to Mother Jones (March-April 2008). Employees and consumers are signing contracts with small-print clauses that, in the event of a conflict, mandate making nice via business-sponsored mediators. When someone refuses to sign the document or challenges the results of mediation, appellate court judges have ruled that the “agreements” are beyond appeal and unencumbered by legal precedent. You’d think the emergence of this pseudolegal system would have judges worried about their own job security, but it’s opened up a new market for moonlighting adjudicators, who can pull in $10,000 a day as arbitrators. Last July, troubled by the ethical implication of this corporate trend, Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin introduced legislation that, if it is adopted (it’s currently in committee), would strike mandatory arbitration clauses from consumer and employment contracts.

1/30/2016 8:52:31 AM

This article of course presumes that the hired arbitrator will be fundamentally biased or unfair. That may be, but is there evidence for it?

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