WASHINGTON –Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced legislation today known as the Arbitration Fairness Act.
The bill aims to protect consumers from business practices that require them to cede their rights to a jury trial as a condition of service. The Judiciary Committee, on which Johnson serves, held hearings on the bill in 2007 and 2008. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced similar legislation in the Senate in 2007.
Today, many businesses rely on mandatory and binding pre-dispute arbitration agreements that force consumers, employees and franchisees to settle any dispute with a company providing products or services without the benefit of a jury trial.
“This is not an anti-business bill, but a pro-consumer bill,” said Johnson. “One of our indelible rights is the right of a jury trial. Guaranteed by the Constitution, this right has been gradually ceded by citizens every day as they purchase a new cell phone, buy a home, place a loved one in a nursing home, or accept a new job. Once used as a tool for businesses to solve their disputes, arbitration agreements have found their way into employment, consumer, franchise and medical contracts.”
Johnson is optimistic about the bipartisan legislation because he garnered more than 35 original cosponsors, including Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. and former subcommittee chair of Commercial and Administrative Law Rep. Linda Sanchez.
More than 100 Representatives co-sponsored the house bill when Johnson first introduced it in the 110th Congress in 2007.
If passed, the act would not dismantle arbitration as a means to resolve conflicts between businesses and consumers, employers and employees but rather give consumers a choice of how to resolve a dispute with a company.
Write a thank you note to Congressman Johnson today.
The Honorable Hank Johnson
United States House of Representatives
1133 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-1004
Dear Congressman Johnson,
Thank you for introducing HB 1020, the Arbitration Fairness Act. As you know, this is much-needed legislation.
We live in neighboring SC, only a few miles from the Georgia border. Pulte Homes, the builder of our community, Sun City Hilton Head, is responsible for some very shoddy construction here. Pulte has a binding arbitration clause in all of their sales contracts. As you know, these clauses are very consumer unfriendly. Details of our story can be found at http://peretired.blogspot.com/
Thank you again for introducing this much needed legislation.
EMAIL, WRITE, OR PHONE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE U.S. HOUSE AND TELL THEM TO VOTE YES FOR THIS BILL.
Here's my email:
Dear Congressman Wilson,
I respectfully urge you to vote yes on HB 1020, the Arbitration Fairness Act, introduced by Congressman Hank Johnson of the 4th Congressional District in Georgia.
Pulte Homes, the builder of our community, Sun City Hilton Head, is responsible for some very shoddy construction here. Pulte has a binding arbitration clause in all of their sales contracts. These clauses are very consumer unfriendly. Details of our story can be found at http://peretired.blogspot.com/
Mandatory arbitration clauses deny one of our indelible rights--the right of a jury trial. Guaranteed by the Constitution, this right has been gradually ceded by citizens every day as arbitration agreements have found their way into many consumer contracts.
HB 1020 will restore our right to a jury trial. Please support it.