Arb on the Block?
July 14, 2008
Dismissing fairness issues as anecdotes, Washington, D.C. Hogan & Hartson LLP partner Christine Varney writes in strong support of arbitration in an op-ed piece in on page A17 of today's Wall Street Journal, available here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121599551833249635.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries
"[T]he solution is not to eliminate all arbitration," notes Varney, urging Congress to "think long and hard before discarding it in favor of more lawsuits...." by passing the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007. Text is available here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.3010:
Varney notes that action on the bill will be taken up by a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee tomorrow.
Varney says that the bills presuppose that litigation benefits consumers, while arbitration doesn't. "[C]ontrary to claims endlessly repeated by its opponents, arbitration helps level the playing field between consumers and big businesses," writes Varney, a former commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission and former assistant to President Clinton and Secretary to the Cabinet. For her firm CV, see http://www.hhlaw.com/cvarney/
The legislation, she writes, benefits plaintiffs' lawyers and is "a bad deal for consumers."