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Articles 1 - 8 of 8

Full-Text Articles in Law

Mandating Minimum Quality In Mass Arbitration, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2008

Mandating Minimum Quality In Mass Arbitration, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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The Supreme Court's decision in McMahon and its progeny has led many businesses and employers to embrace what was once deemed a localized, industry-specific practice. The "new" or "mass arbitration" only mildly resembles the traditional system employed by niches in industry for settling commercial matters among commercial actors. While the "old" system involved parties who were relatively equal in bargaining power and knowledge, these systems for mass arbitration lack a freely entered bargain and resemble more closely, contracts of adhesion. Privatized arbitration resolves issues of both statutory and substantive law, and there is a strong argument, given the inexperience of …


Arbitration, Unconscionability, And Equilibrium: The Return Of Unconscionability Analysis As A Counterweight To Arbitration Formalism, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2004

Arbitration, Unconscionability, And Equilibrium: The Return Of Unconscionability Analysis As A Counterweight To Arbitration Formalism, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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However incomplete, unaggressive, or sub-optimal, unconscionability analysis of arbitration agreements has made something of a comeback in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, water seeks to be level, and ecosystems work to retain environmental stability, the legal system has witnessed an incremental effort by lower courts to soften the rough edges of the Supreme Court's pro-arbitration jurisprudence through rediscovery of what might be called the “unconscionability norm”--a collective judicial view as to what aspects of an arbitration arrangement are too unfair to merit judicial enforcement. In rediscovering and reinvigorating the unconscionability norm …


Fighting Arbitration Clauses In Franchisor Contracts, Jean R. Sternlight Jan 2000

Fighting Arbitration Clauses In Franchisor Contracts, Jean R. Sternlight

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Purporting to serve justice, efficiency, and freedom of contract, business interests are increasingly attempting to use binding arbitration clauses to secure unfair advantages over unknowing parties. Courts seemingly have been eager to enforce arbitration clauses that appear in franchise agreements. This article discusses courts’ enforcement of arbitration clauses, undermining protections to the franchisee, and how franchisees can create a more level playing field.


Protecting Franchisees From Abusive Arbitration Clauses, Jean R. Sternlight Jan 2000

Protecting Franchisees From Abusive Arbitration Clauses, Jean R. Sternlight

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This article sets out a number of legal arguments that franchisees can potentially use to defeat arbitration clauses that seek to accomplish ends that would not be permissible in litigation. Drawing from decisions protecting consumers and employees from unfair arbitration clauses, as well as from opinions in the franchise context, this article analyzes arguments that can be based on the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, state statutes, and common law. By way of this analysis, it suggests that some courts are misapplying arbitration precedents and preemption arguments to support decisions that allow franchisors to effectively exempt themselves from legislation and even …


Gateway Widens Doorway To Imposing Unfair Binding Arbitration On Consumers, Jean R. Sternlight Jan 1997

Gateway Widens Doorway To Imposing Unfair Binding Arbitration On Consumers, Jean R. Sternlight

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Hill v. Gateway, is but the most extreme example of a series of court decisions that allow large companies to impose potentially unfair binding arbitration agreements on unwitting consumers. The outcome in Gateway, however, is questionable on federal statutory, common law, and constitutional grounds.


Bootstrapping And Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Arbitral Infatuation And The Decline Of Consent, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 1996

Bootstrapping And Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Arbitral Infatuation And The Decline Of Consent, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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The Seventh Amendment to the Constitution preserves for litigants a right to a jury trial in actions at law. The right to a jury trial does not attach for equitable actions, but in cases presenting claims for both legal and equitable relief a right to a jury trial exists for common questions of fact. Although many modern statutes and claims did not exist in 1791, the Amendment has been interpreted to require a jury trial of statutory claims seeking monetary damages, the classic form of legal relief, so long as there is a relatively apt analogy between the modern statutory …


A Better Approach To Arbitrability, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 1991

A Better Approach To Arbitrability, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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Historically, Anglo-American courts refused to enforce arbitration agreements, jealously guarding their dispute resolution monopoly. During the early twentieth century, merchants and attorneys began seeking legislation requiring courts to defer to arbitration. The United States Abitration Act took effect January 1, 1926 and has remained essentially unchanged. It was written with the implicit assumption that it would be invoked by commercial actors having relatively equal bargaining power and emotive appeal to a jury. The Act says nothing to direct the court's inquiry concerning the quality of either party's assent to the arbitration clause other than requiring a written arbitration agreement and …


Pitfalls Of Public Policy: The Case Of Arbitration Agreements, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 1990

Pitfalls Of Public Policy: The Case Of Arbitration Agreements, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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As the juxtaposition of these quotations suggests, judges have long held disparate views on the legitimacy and value of “public policy” considerations as a basis for legal decision making. The popular notion posits that Justice Holmes and legal realists carried the day, making public policy analysis an ordinary part of the adjudication process. The story, of course, is more complex than this legal version of Don Quixote. Many judges and lawyers, including Justice Holmes in other writings, continued to speak of adjudication in more formalist and positivist terms, with most laypersons in apparent agreement. Judge Burroughs' view of public policy …