Wednesday, August 6, 2008
More WSJ Special Pleading
"Congress is taking up legislation this week that will wipe out arbitration provisions in hundreds of millions of consumer contracts. ... It will cancel arbitration agreements agreed to in the past. ... This legislation is a top priority of plaintiffs' lawyers, since arbitration keeps big-dollar disputes out of the courtroom. But it's a bad deal for consumers. The law will not make arbitration 'fairer'; it will make it go away, because it is very difficult to get two sides of a dispute to agree to much of anything once a dispute has started. ... These bills are based on the assumption that litigation benefits consumers while arbitration does not. That assumption is wrong. Arbitration is a long-established, successful method of resolving disputes without having to take your case to court. ... After years at the Federal Trade Commisson, I understand the importance of ensuring that consumers can seek redress for their complaints. ... By contrast, arbitration is much less expensive for consumers than courts; many businesses have agreed to pay virtually all of the costs of arbitration. ... Our courts are not designed to afford individual consumers realistic access to redress for commercial disputes with large companies", my emphasis, Christine Varney (CV) at the WSJ, 14 July 2008.
Who is CV? A Hogan & Hartson (H&H) partner, John Roberts' (JR) old firm. Now have a good idea where JR stands when and if the Supremes consider an arbitration case. I wish the WSJ, would stop printing this junk. My spin: keeping arbitration is a "top priority" of H&H's clients. Get out your crying towel, "it's a bad deal for consumers", CV writes. Really? Does H&H represent consumers? If CV is right, she's got "brass cojones", openly opposing the interests of H&H's clients! CV understands "the importance of ensuring that consumers can seek redress for their complaints". Precisely. That's why she wants to keep them out of court! CV writes, "many businesses have agreed to pay virtually all the costs of arbitration". Now the classical agency and repeat player problems rear their ugly heads. See my 17 and 27 April and 26 June 2008 posts about the NAF. CV is right about this: "courts are not designed to afford individual consumers ... redress for commercial disputes with large companies". CV, how would you fix this problem with the courts? This piece was titled, "Arbitration Works Better Than Lawsuits". My response is borrowed from Henny Youngman (HY), who was asked, "How's your wife"? HY answers, "Compared to who"? Similarly arbitration, works bettter "for who"?