Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767
dowens@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742
drosen@citizen.org

Nicholas Florko, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch
w. (202) 454-5108
nflorko@citizen.org

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

Feb. 4, 2016

Legislation Is Welcome Step to Protect Consumers From Forced Arbitration

Statement of Sonia Gill, Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Protection, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Today, the Restoring Statutory Rights Act was introduced by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Public Citizen sent a letter (PDF) to members of the U.S. Senate urging them to support the bill, which would prevent forced arbitration of both federal and state constitutional and statutory claims.

Senator Leahy’s bill is a significant step to ensure that fine-print terms that have been hidden in contracts no longer block the courthouse doors to individuals in disputes over consumer protection, civil rights, anti-trust and other federal and state laws.

Forced arbitration has crept into virtually every sector of American life. Forced arbitration clauses force people to give up their legal rights in court before a dispute has arisen. Most people don’t know that forced arbitration clauses are buried in the fine print of contracts for employment, consumer products, financial goods and services, and student enrollment agreements.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) allows companies to impose forced arbitration on consumers and workers. As a result, many consumers and employees often are unable to have their day in court.

Sen. Leahy’s Restoring Statutory Rights Act would help bring the FAA back in line with its original intent. It would ensure that parties intended to be protected by established state and federal rights and remedies are not forced to give up those rights in the fine print of contracts. It also would reinstate state and federal courts’ ability to decide whether the forced arbitration provisions are enforceable under the laws of their own jurisdiction.

Senators should support this consumer and worker safeguard bill and help restore individuals’ access to court.

###

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

You can support the fight for greater government and corporate accountability through a donation to either Public Citizen, Inc., or Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Public Citizen lobbies Congress and federal agencies to advance Public Citizen’s mission of advancing government and corporate accountability. When you make a contribution to Public Citizen, you become a member of Public Citizen, showing your support and entitling you to benefits such as Public Citizen News. Contributions to Public Citizen are not tax-deductible.

Public Citizen Foundation focuses on research, public education, and litigation in support of our mission. By law, the Foundation can engage in only very limited lobbying. Contributions to Public Citizen Foundation are tax-deductible.