Elizabeth Warren, the doyenne of consumer debt, received a frank email from a lawyer that shows the anti-consumer bias of binding arbitration. The lawyer was attempting to arbitrate a dispute with MBNA, a difficult task complicated by the bank’s refusal to participate.
From Credit Slips:
[The arbitrator] admitted that they never show up and he has never had an attorney show up before. Just before I left, he suggested that we might reschedule. I told him I would not agree to rescheduling and that I believed he had no choice but to find an award in favor of my client. This made him extremely uncomfortable and he indicated he would need to talk to someone at NAF [National Arbitration Forum] first. I reminded him that he was supposed to be impartial and he told me he would give me his decision in a few days.
Arbitrators who rule against corporations find themselves blacklisted, which is why this one wanted to reschedule, knowing full well that MBNA would not appear.
I just want to clarify that the arbitration notice states that FIA will appear by telephone. Mr. Curry [the arbitrator] told me that they never appear in person and often don’t call.
Consider this anonymous lawyer’s experience as one more reason to support The Arbitration Fairness Act.