Anatole France.

Striking down as unconscionable a ban on class actions in an "arbitration rider" to a loan agreement, the court in Vasquez-Lopez v. Beneficial Oregon, Inc., No. A125270 (Ore. Ct. App. Jan. 31, 2007), rejected the lender’s argument that the ban favored neither side:

We are reminded of the observation by a character in an Anatole France novel that "the majestic equality of the laws * * * forbid[s] rich and poor alike to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread."  Anatole France, The Red Lily, 95 (Winifred Stephens trans., Frederic Chapman Ed. 1894). Although the arbitration rider with majestic equality forbids lenders as well as borrowers from bringing class actions, the likelihood of the lender seeking to do so against its own customers is as likely as the rich seeking to sleep under bridges.

The court also upheld a verdict and judgment for the borrowers, who claimed that the lender engaged in "predatory" lending.

Barry Barnett

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