Congress should pass legislation that would allow injured workers and consumers to file lawsuits in state and federal courts instead of having their cases handled through arbitration. Putting an end to what some call “forced arbitration” should be a priority for Congress. While arbitration is bad for ordinary folks in all consumer transactions, it is especially bad in instances involving nursing homes. Quite often, contracts that residents must sign before admission to a facility prevent them or their families from suing the nursing homes for poor or substandard care. Other businesses also use arbitration clauses in contracts to avoid being sued for their wrongdoing in a court of law. Mandatory, binding arbitration that is forced on nursing home residents and consumers generally simply can’t be justified.
Organizations fronting for the bad guys in Corporate America, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, claim arbitration is a lower-cost and often speedier option than jury trials, and they contend it’s fair for injured parties. Congress should pass the Arbitration Fairness Act and the Nursing Home Arbitration Act as soon as possible. This legislation would require that workers or consumers determine whether they want to sue or use arbitration after a dispute has arisen. The Nursing Home Arbitration Act would ban forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.
The arbitration fight is one in which all consumers should become involved. Keeping the courts open for nursing home residents and their families and for consumers is an absolute necessity. If you agree, contact the House member in your district and your Senators and ask them to push the Arbitration Fairness Act and the Nursing Home Arbitration Act and then vote for them.
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