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?