Buried within most admission contracts for nursing homes are unconscionable and hidden clauses requiring mandatory binding arbitration in case of a dispute. These clauses stack the deck against consumers and victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. These hidden clauses force residents to sign away their rights before a dispute even arises, and denying them access to the courts, often the only place regular Americans can face powerful interests on a level playing field.
The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 would secure citizens’ seventh amendment right to a trial by jury and allow consumers to get a fair opportunity.
In arbitration, consumers are forced into a private legal system that is stacked against regular Americans, where they must pay steep filing fees—often more than $750 just to file a case. These fees do not include the arbitrators’ hourly charges, which range from $200 to $500 per hour, often bringing the total cost of arbitration to tens of thousands of dollars for consumers.
While in arbitration, consumers’ fates are in the hands of a supposedly impartial arbitrator. However, the arbitrators are often biased in favor of businesses, since they will be repeat users of a particular arbitrator. Once an arbitrator reaches a decision, it is almost impossible to appeal and the arbitrators do not have to justify any of their findings.
The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 would eliminate these unfair contracts and preserve the right to a trial by jury—a pillar of our civil justice system.
We urge you to take action by telling your Senators and Representative to oppose binding mandatory arbitration clauses in consumers’ contracts by supporting the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007.