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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…

Late last month in this blog, I wrote that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) was “cruisin’ for a bruisin’” on its arbitration policy. To review, and borrowing heavily from my own work, the NLRB had ruled previously in the D.R. Horton matter that a predispute arbitration agreement (“PDAA”) containing a class action waiver violated…

The story becomes more complicated when Citigroup and the individual broker sought to challenge the award in state court on the grounds of manifest disregard of law, and bias because two of the arbitrators failed to make required disclosures. It turns out the parties appeared to have settled their dispute before the arbitration was commenced. This the court seizes on without addressing the arbitrator disclosure issue.

Back in 1997, George Friedman, a member of the ARS Board of Directors, predicted and planned for the economic collapse of 2008, alternative energy needs, hybrid and electric cars, and now the future of arbitration. Check out his predictions that were applauded at the 2013 Securities Experts Roundtable in Boston.

The 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”) is aimed at making it easier for small businesses to raise funds. The JOBS Act requires the SEC to perform studies and write rules to implement the law. Toward that end, the SEC solicited comments on Title III of the act, which concerns crowdfunding (a broad term used…

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.