Mandatory binding arbitration agreements are bad for consumers for so many reasons that, unless you’re the victim of one, it’s hard to keep track of the various ways you can be screwed. So we’ve come up with this helpful illustration: a choose-your-own-adventure-styled trip through the arbitration process.
A Michigan court has struck an arbitration clause in a wrongful death case against a nursing home that allegedly allowed one of its senile residents to wander outside and freeze to death.
A New York state Supreme Court justice threw out Amazon’s sales tax lawsuit earlier today, opening the way for New York to begin collecting sales taxes on Amazon purchases.
Earlier this week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an arbitration decision in a dispute between Coffee Beanery and a franchisee. The court found that the arbitrator, hired by the American Arbitration Association, “showed a manifest disregard of the law” by siding with Coffee Beanery.
The Chicago Tribune writes that “More than 119,000 civil lawsuits against alleged debtors are clogging [Chicago] courtrooms,” but since collection agencies make money off of volume business, the suits filed are based on too little information. The result: cases based on mistaken identities, or for debts already settled, or against debtors who have made good-faith efforts to work out repayment plans. “The system is out of control,” one attorney tells the paper.
A Dallas court found U-Haul guilty of negligence for failing to maintain its vehicles properly, and awarded 74-year-old Talmadge Waldrip $84 million in damages, $63 million of which are punitive. “The truck’s parking brake did not work at all,” said the man’s lawyer. “He stepped out of the truck and it rolled right over him.”
A class action lawsuit can proceed in Washington after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled T-Mobile’s mandatory binding arbitration clause “unconscionable and unenforceable under Washington state law.”
Meet Floribel Hernandez Cuenca and Manuel Martin. California police arrested the pair on “felony cheese making charges” after they tried to sell 375 pounds of bathtub cheese at an open-air market in San Bernardino. Bathtub cheese, otherwise known as “illegal soft cheese,” can cause a range of maladies including listeria, salmonella, and everybody’s favorite gut goblin, E. coli.
The 375 pounds of seized illegal cheese included panela, queso fresco and queso oxaca varieties, the [California Department of Food and Agriculture] says. It was a significant find, the department says.
Remember the Atwoods? They were facing the possibility of losing their home after it was sold to pay $1.63 in property tax.
In 1996 a property tax bill for $1.63 was mailed to Kermit and Dolores Atwood. The bill never reached its destination, according to the Times-Picayune. Now, 11 years later, the Atwoods are in danger of losing their home.
Tort reform is a buzzphrase that comes and goes, but nearly always gets tied to things like The Great McDonalds Hot Coffee Incident or the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance for doctors. Many blogs, Tort Deform and Overlawyered prominently among them, devote copious space to arguing tort reform.