2017 Saw Several Attacks on Your Civil Justice Protections
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on December 11, 2017 in Personal Injury
The December issue of the PKSD newsletter, You Should Know, usually focuses on some of the greatest victories for civil justice in the past year. However, for the December 2017 edition, we focused on the unprecedented number of attacks on your civil justice protections, in the form of rule changes and legislation.
This month’s newsletter covers everything from the Senate vote overturning a rule banning banks and credit card companies from using forced arbitration clauses in customer contracts to tort reform bills that make it more difficult for personal injury victims to get their day in court.
Senate Overturns Rule on Forced Arbitration
In October, the Senate voted to overturn a rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that banned credit card companies and banks from using forced arbitration clauses in customer contracts.
These clauses prohibit you from filing a lawsuit, including a class action lawsuit, if the bank engages in any illegal or fraudulent behavior with your account or your personal information. These clauses allow the bank to choose an arbitrator to settle the dispute in private. Corporations usually hire arbitrators who tend to rule in favor of the corporation.
Another rule prohibiting forced arbitration clauses in employment agreements was eliminated in March. This means that workers who sign these contracts do not have the right to a jury trial if they suffer discrimination or have workplace safety concerns.
These clauses favor corporate profits instead of the right of consumers to seek justice in the court system, a right guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Tort Reform Bills Curtail Access to Justice
Two bills were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this year that are aimed at tort reform, which is a guise for actions meant to benefit legislators’ corporate allies.
H.R. 725 allows corporate defendants to move cases from state courts into federal courts. However, these courts are often overburdened, which can cause delays and result in increased costs for victims and taxpayers.
H.R. 985 puts severe restrictions on the ability of consumers to join together and file class action lawsuits to seek justice when they have been wronged.
The House passed both of these bills and they are now ready to be voted on by the Senate.
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