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TECHNOLOGY, ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION, AND THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY: THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED (REALLY THIS TIME) By George H. Friedman*   Abstract Over twenty years ago, the author of this paper evaluated emerging technologies and predicted how they might impact alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”).[1]  Four years later, after the emergence of the internet, he updated his predictions…

Justin Bieber, Sunoco and Arbitration: How are they Possibly Connected?   by George Friedman*   Earlier this week came word that Justin Bieber and a photographer, who are embroiled in a law suit in Florida over an alleged assault on the photographer, are now arguing about whether the judge should direct the parties to submit…

The Elections are over: What it means for Consumer Arbitration Five things to look for in 2015 By George H. Friedman*   Back when I was Director of Arbitration at FINRA, we used to have a “Crystal Ball Contest” where the staff would weigh in on predictions for the coming year. I usually did pretty…

The Camel and the Last Straw or the Frog and the Boiling Water: Pick Your Parable By George H. Friedman* The current issue of the Securities Arbitration Commentator has as its lead story an article I wrote with the title above.  For those who don’t subscribe, here is the Reader’s Digest version.  Or maybe the…

Ten Things about Litigation that Arbitration Critics Won’t Tell You by George H. Friedman*  [republished from an earlier post] The recent uproar over General Mills’ decision to adopt and later retract a new policy by which consumers, by engaging in activities such as downloading a recipe, or participating in a contest, or “liking” the firm…

The recent uproar over General Mills’ decision to adopt and later retract a new policy by which consumers, by engaging in activities such as downloading a recipe, or participating in a contest, or “liking” the firm on Facebook, would unwittingly be agreeing to arbitrate, certainly refocused the spotlight on the prevalent use of mandatory, predispute arbitration in consumer transactions.

Ten Things about Litigation that Arbitration Critics Won’t Tell You by George H. Friedman*  The recent uproar over General Mills’ decision to adopt and later retract a new policy by which consumers, by engaging in activities such as downloading a recipe, or participating in a contest, or “liking” the firm on Facebook, would unwittingly be…

What do A-Rod, the NLRB, and General Mills have in Common?  The title of this post is not a riddle.  On Jeopardy! it would be the correct response to “They evidently read George Friedman’s blog at Arbitration Resolution Services.” Three times in recent months, I have blogged about the above cast of characters, and urged…

I have to admit I was a little concerned about the Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc. business model when I read summaries describing Martin v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 12-6030 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 2, 2013). It sounded like the court was saying online agreements to arbitrate were not enforceable. Then I read the actual case. Turns out this case is just about failure of proof.I have to admit I was a little concerned about the Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc. business model when I read summaries describing Martin v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 12-6030 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 2, 2013). It sounded like the court was saying online agreements to arbitrate were not enforceable. Then I read the actual case. Turns out this case is just about failure of proof.

In early May, bills were introduced in the House and Senate , attempting to breathe new life into the concept of a federal Arbitration Fairness Act (“AFA”). The bills would amend the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) by adding a new chapter invalidating predispute arbitration agreements (“PDAAs”) for consumer, investor, employment, or civil rights claims. The proposed legislation is similar to prior failed efforts to similarly amend the FAA going back at least to 2005.

This article analyzes the AFA of 2013 and concludes that, while a well- intended effort to address a legitimate concern – PDAAs imposed via an adhesion contract by dominant parties on weaker parties like consumers and employees – it in fact is a potentially dangerous overreaction that could end up harming those it intends to protect. The article closes with the author’s recommendation for a better way to address these concerns.