Sunday, April 27, 2008

Repeat Player Advantage-2

"A suit against a leading provider of arbitrators raises issues that for years have been leveled against the organization and that could come into play more as debt-collection actions rise in a likely recession. ... The suit follows a number of questions by lawyers, courts and some former NAF arbitrators in recent years about whether NAF arbitrations are fair to consumers. ... While other arbitration organizations have also come under attack by critics, NAF has found itself in the spotlight in part because a significant percentage of its work includes disputes involving consumers, rather than disputes between businesses. ... Jean Sternlight, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas [said] an NAF arbitrator 'can expect to see many many disputes involving the same company, there may be a heightened pressure on the arbitrator to rule in favor of the company or else risk losing future arbitration work.' ... [A West Virgina court ruled] The fact that consumers are required to arbitrate before NAF, which is financially dependent on repeat business from lenders, the court concluded, 'impinges on neutrality and fundamental fairness.' A California appellate court likewise ruled in 2002 ... the employer enjoyed a possible 'repeat player' advantage, including "knowledge of the arbitrators' temperaments, procedural preferences, styles and the like, and the arbitrators' cultivation of further business. ... Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard Law professor ... said she was regularly rejected by a credit-card company from hearing arbitrations after making one ruling favorable to a consumer in a credit-card case", WSJ, 21 April 2008.

Repeat player advantage? No way! The entire arbitration pocess should end. How? A civil RICO suit. I think a good plaintiffs' attorney could plead it. Imagine naming dozens of former judges as defendants in this case along with the NAF and some large credit card issuing banks. Sounds good to me. I think Sternlight is too kind, "there may be"?

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