With Justice Scalia gone from the Court, no one can say what will happen next, with respect to forced arbitration or any other issue. But the exceptionally strong words of Justices Ginsburg and Kagan raise a very real possibility that the Supreme Court's love affair -- with forcing Americans into arbitration even when it lets corporations break the law with impunity -- may finally be over.
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Since Republicans gained control of Congress little has been done. The Arbitration Act, which would broadly void forced arbitration contracts, has languished in Congress for six years. A bill to prohibit any school receiving federal student aid from restricting students' ability to pursue legal claims in court likely will not come to a vote.
Buried in the fine print of those "terms and conditions of use" is a forced arbitration clause. That means that if you have a dispute with Spotify, you have to take your case to a decision maker at a firm they choose -- not a judge or jury. In addition, if Spotify violates the rights of thousands, even millions, of its listeners, they can't band together to seek justice.
CFPB Study Proves Forced Arbitration Harms Consumers; Agency Should Prohibit the Practice Wherever It Can
Our film Lost in the Fine Print shows what happens when consumers and employees are prevented from standing up for their rights in court and instead forced to go before an arbitrator hired by the very company that wronged them. Much of the time, forced arbitration clauses mean those disputes never go anywhere at all. Now there is a new mass of additional evidence.