The WSJ opines today that bills in Congress would support "more class-action lawsuits" by banning arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.  Sorry, but Blawgletter just doesn’t see the argument. 

Lawyers who represent consumers like arbitration — for disputes that involve enough money to justify the expense.  But lots of companies try to put a double-whammy on consumers.  They not only require arbitration but also prohibit aggregation of claims, whether through joinder of multiple claimants or class certification.  The non-aggregation provision makes low-dollar consumer disputes impossible to pursue on an economic basis.  The companies end up granting themselves effective immunity, no matter how egregious and profitable their misdeeds.

So we ask:  which do you prefer, WSJ — aggregate/class arbitration or aggregate/class lawsuits?  The former gives all the benefits of arbitration while preserving the effectiveness of consumers’ remedies.  Or do the remedies’ effectiveness not matter?

Barry Barnett

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