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Drivers claim Uber won’t pay fees to launch forced arbitration cases (reuters.com)
145 points by SilasX 72 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 98 comments

Refusal to proceed with arbitration has been a problem.[1] Surprisingly, there's still litigation over whether this voids the arbitration clause. At the appellate level, several courts have ruled that it does.[2]

The 9th Circuit dealt with this in another case.[3] "On the assumption that Brown's narrative is true, this case displays a dark side of our nation's policy in favor of arbitration. When a defendant in a judicial forum refuses to respond to a complaint that is properly filed and served, the court has the power to enter and enforce a default judgment. Arbitration works differently. The American Arbitration Association could not compel Dillard's to pay its share of the filing fee, and in the absence of the fee it could not proceed. Brown had no choice but to come to court. Many people in Brown's position would simply have given up. Because she did not, we have the occasion to make clear that when an employer enters into an agreement requiring its employees to arbitrate, it must participate in the process or lose its right to arbitrate."

[1] https://www.bdlfirm.com/arbitration-the-consequences-of-a-pa...

[2] https://www.arbitrationnation.com/tag/roach-v-bm-motoring/

[3] https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1105777.html

I would love to see it void forced arbitration.

That's up to Congress. Federal Arbitration Act.

So they require you to do forced arbitration, then just refuse to act on it (or act very slowly).

From a business stand point, of course they would. Most of these cases will at best require time and money to sort out, and at worse cost them even more money (compensating a driver for damages or lost wages). So why wouldn't they let these get tied up in bureaucracy until the drivers decide it's not worth the effort?

Force arbitration is bullshit and anti-consumer.

> Force arbitration is bullshit and anti-consumer.

Definitely. I love this quote further down in the article:

> Last June, for instance, I wrote about a Fitbit lawyer’s all-too-candid admission that no rational litigant would pay a $750 filing fee to arbitrate a claim over a product that costs $162 – a concession that plaintiffs' lawyers called the “ugly truth” about mandatory arbitration clauses.

>Last June, for instance, I wrote about a Fitbit lawyer’s all-too-candid admission that no rational litigant would pay a $750 filing fee to arbitrate a claim over a product that costs $162

Sometimes it's not about the money - sometimes it's about sending a message.

For Fitbit, it's about the money. They reduce their costs with this strategy, and they don't care about your message.

> For Fitbit, it's about the money. They reduce their costs with this strategy, and they don't care about your message.

I'm saying this is a dangerous line of thinking. What happens when someone does spend the money? Or finances a large group of people to exercise their rights?

(Recall the Gawker case - they threat modeled that Hulk Hogan couldn't afford to seek relief in the courts. But they pissed off someone much richer than Hogan, who was happy to help him access legal relief.)

When people do spend the money, Fitbit is in the same situation they'd be in if they hadn't added that barrier.

If I had millions to spare, I might help finance many thousands of simultaneous forced arbitration cases against some companies who engage in this forced arbitration bullshit.

If you did this to Fitbit, you'd have to spend $750 for each arbitration, plus advertising costs to find people who need arbitration. Fitbit will lose up to $162 each time you do this, plus their costs to attend the arbitration.

Let's assume their average cost is $200 and yours is $800. Are you willing to spend a million dollars to cost Fitbit $250k? This wouldn't hurt Fitbit much, and it's going to be a lot of work to find, vet, and distribute money to the 1,250 people who are willing to undergo arbitration.

Even if your plan worked, you'd just have spent a bunch of money to make Fitbit live up to some of the legal obligations it was using arbitration to avoid. This wouldn't change anything going forward.

The main benefit would be to the people who got their $162 in value. If that's your goal, you could help a lot more of those people if you just gave each of them $162 rather than spending $750 to help them go through the process.

Or you could spend your millions lobbying to change the laws so Fitbit can't require arbitration with a $750 fee.

You don't need thousands. $750 is far more than a lawyer will charge for 2-3 hours of their time. It just so happens that's more than most customers will spend on forced arbitration as well.

State courts charge filing fees. So do federal courts. Fees in both courts now approach $750. The losing party in both courts and arbitrations is taxed costs, which include the filing fee. Figure on paying $400/hour for a lawyer to handle an international arbitration with a $10k downstroke. Same for a federal practitioner. You might do slightly better in state court.

If you're trying to recover damages for a $162 purchase, wouldn't you either be in small claims court or part of a class action suit?

> sometimes it's about sending a message

Important rhetorical question (spoken kindly, despite word choice): Whose message? As in, who gets to send this message that's alluded to? It will be a certain sort of person, with a certain sort of capacity, and anyone else who wants to send a message can get f*cked. The resulting state of any system will reflect this asymmetry.

(Not implying that you were saying the above was fair, just wanted to draw out this aspect for others that the "message" line might resonate with :)

Without being able to start a class action, the message sent by a court will be pretty minimal.

I can't think of many companies that I'm happier to have trying to push mandatory arbitration clauses. A conservative well-capitalized bank or brokerage will duly pay an arbitrator that becomes accustomed to their repeat business. They will likely have their books and legal department in order enough to come up to speed with common sense once a request for arbitration has been filed, or failing that supply irrefutable (even if not necessarily correct) documentation to the arbitrator to support siding against the consumer. In other words, they'll keep up the illusion that their kangaroo court works as claimed.

But Uber, what do they actually do well ? Besides executing on that whole "startup" thing of fomenting civil disobedience, greenwashing it as "sharing", and then capturing it to install themselves as new less-accountable middlemen? This type of grossly incompetent mishandling is exactly the kind of thing we need to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to even entertain these eval(input()) clauses in "contracts".

Can’t people take them to court anyway on the argument that they violated the forced arbitration clause? They would have to prove that they there is a valid reason for them moving slowly in ALL the cases.

Yes you could probably file a civil claim for breach of contract and/or deceptive trade practices alleging the underlying contract requires arbitration and the party is refusing to participate.

It’s compounded by the facts as the litigates previously sued and Uber moved to have the class action litigation compelled to arbitration individually, wherein there were representations Uber made to the court (which now appear to be lies) and a court order of arbitration Uber also appears to be violating.

A clever enough lawyer may even circumvent any waiver of class action provision on the same legal arguments for all such litigants with similar claims.

I just bought a car and at the VERY last moment they brought up forced arbitration...

Did you balk at it? In my experience car dealers tend to both appeal to authority as a first line of defense ("It's out of my control. That fee is mandatory."), yet also will do anything they can to close a deal. I'd be curious if walking out would get it removed.

Which brand? I will be in the market for a new car soon, and avoiding that brand will speed the decision-making process.

Of all the competitive parameters this is one you think it's worth considering?

Voting with your wallet works if a majority of people understand the issue and vote the same way. Here you're just creating problems for yourself.

Not that the enthusiasm isn't good :)

Of all the competitive parameters this is one you think it's worth considering?

No, but it’s one parameter worth considering. I never stated that it was the only deciding factor.

Life is not binary.

A forced arbitration clause was included by my realtor in all the paperwork I filled out when buying a house last year. I didn't sign that page and nobody brought it up again.

So they require you to do forced arbitration, then just refuse to act on it (or act very slowly).

Move slow and break things now? I guess whatever feeds the VC's.

Forced arbitration is a violation of human rights. Access to the courts should always be available. These clauses should join “sell yourself into slavery” as examples of obvious things you can’t do in a contract.

It is the privatization of justice, similar to the push to privatize public education.

>Forced arbitration is a violation of human rights.

What about two parties choosing arbitration as a clause in the contract they enter into together?

Nice word 'choosing' reminds me of this saying...

"In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread."

It's a failure of society to presume that a huge corporation and a single employee can have a true meeting of the minds for complicated contracts.

I think that's how consumer protection should work: company extends shady contract, regulator says nope to the entire industry.

For example you should be able to get out of a contract with the same ease as you got in.

(also I am still a bit baffled, it took one hour to sign my contract at my gym and 1h30 at the bank to open an account, this symmetry principle might not play in my favor in the US).

Arguably you shouldn't be able to enter into such a contract, similar to how you can't contract yourself into slavery, even if you want to.

Same as two parties choosing slavery as a clause.

I think the proper vocabulary is "indentured servitude".

Indentured Servitude is a word invented to sidestep the taboo against enslaving Christians. In Greece or Rome, such people would still be considered slaves. Properly speaking, Indentured Servitude is a type of Slavery, so it is appropriate to use the more general term for it.

If the arbitration is truly voluntary there is no need to force it in the contract.

Let's make it forbidden in leonine contracts.

Forced arbitration being lawful is one thing, but the employer both being able to force arbitration AND pick the arbitrator who is on their payroll should be illegal.

In effect you've taken a process out of an independent court and put it with a private business which is being paid by one of the parties. Seems super sketchy even to the point of criminality.

At the minimum, the arbitrator should be licensed and certified by the court. Further, the plaintiff should be able to sue the arbitrator if they failed to act in good faith (i.e., if the arbitrator was sleeping during the deposition, or clearly rendered a decision not supported by the evidence).

>Further, the plaintiff should be able to sue the arbitrator if they failed to act in good faith

They can. 9 U.S. Code § 10:

(a) In any of the following cases the United States court in and for the district wherein the award was made may make an order vacating the award upon the application of any party to the arbitration— (1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means; (2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, or either of them; (3) where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing, upon sufficient cause shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced; or (4) where the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly executed them that a mutual, final, and definite award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.

Arbitors often have no assets. You'll be dealing with "Arbitration Corporation 12S". Which will conveniently cease business the moment anyone files suit.

That quote clearly says that you sue to vacate the award, not force the arbitor to pay you it back.

That's the point of it. It protects the corporation from the rule of law.

When a lot of money is at stake, it is no surprise that litigants abuse the legal system.

Uber is contractually required to pay the up-front arbitration fees so that the JAMS arbitrations can move forward. I super-slow-walks the process. What is the remedy?

Well, JAMS itself does not really have a remedy. It is a private organization that moves forward with the arbitration process as its rules are complied with and as it gets paid.

Nor is there an obvious remedy in the courts for individual failings in this or that arbitration procedure. Courts normally are not even involved in such processes.

Only when a clear pattern emerges (as it now has) can a court intervene to remedy a problem such as this.

In the meantime, what has happened? A lot of time has passed. A lot of the claimants (I am sure) have become discouraged and have possibly lost their motivation to move forward with their claims. And Uber has moved well along the path toward ultimate success in winning it all in its market, currently resting on a valuation of $120B.

Is any of this defensible? No. Will Uber try to defend it? Yes, through double-talk and prevarication. Will it be doing so in good faith? Not at all. Will the aggrieved drivers be able to overcome it? Perhaps, but they will likely get too little, too late. And, for Uber, it will be a historic liability that vanishes into the ether as it looks backwards on eventually settling the claims while basking in its massive success.

In a just world, things like this should not happen and perhaps Uber will be upended by something or other along the way anyway. But this sort of cynical abuse of legal processes in neither rare nor the exception in cases where modern litigants have the means and opportunity to gain massively from the abuses. It is not the exception but the rule.

And this in turn illustrates the obvious limits of using law as a solution for society's problems. The law can and does help solve problems to a point. But it is always subject to abuse and, in the end, money, power, and corrupt motives often work to undercut its effectiveness. This sort of case is Exhibit A to prove the point.

> And this in turn illustrates the obvious limits of using law as a solution for society's problems.

This problem is a result of people being prevented from using the normal legal process to handle their disputes. "The limits of the law" only applies here so far the Supreme Court has ever-expansively applied the Federal Arbitration Act to override the laws of the states.

> this in turn illustrates the obvious limits of using law as a solution for society's problems.

So the government completely fails one of the few major domestic duties it has and this is excusable? What should people do? Revolt? Kill the Uber CEO? Or plan C, other type of violence? Because without a working government, what recourse do people have? Why should people hold up their end of the social contract if the government doesn't hold up its own?

Allowing people to "sign" away their 7th amendment rights, in some cases in order to simply maintain already paid for services, is ridiculous. Arbitration should be between equal parties (i.e. businesses, you and your neighbor) or you should only agree to it with advice from a lawyer.

These clauses are just more corporate abuse.

What rube at the 9th circuit fell for the 'ol "of course we'll act in good faith" argument??

In the long run I think this kind of practice will only hurt Uber - they have huge issues with driver retention any way, and their dream of self driving cars is laughable. Lyft (who's only a little better, but still better) will continue to gain ground in the US especially and will eventually become the market leader in mobility.

They both have to worry about customers though. I'm afraid to take either Uber or Lyft, due to the fact my credit card may be randomly charged a $250 or more "damage fee". It is ridiculous that they just take the driver's word for it without something like dashcam evidence as proof.

It's extremely uncommon to receive a damage fee, has to be substantiated with a photo and you can dispute it. Avoiding rideshare because of it is like refusing to go outside because you might be struck by lightning.

More importantly, could the judge in front of whom the statement was made hold them in contempt? Preferably directly the person who said it, not the company?

IANAL, but I don't think the Ninth Circuit was deciding whether Uber would act in good faith or not; just whether arbitration clauses where unconscionable or not. And they aren't, since the SCOTUS decision on Epic Systems v. Lewis.

>Lyft (who's only a little better, but still better)

The same lyft and not Uber that is suing NYC to not pay minimum wage of $17.22?

I'm not saying Uber is an angel, but neither is Lyft and at the end of the day both of them are businesses that'll look after themselves first.

Reading into that lawsuit, this seems like an oversimplification. Lyft is arguing against a particular formula that will be applied by TLC to calculate that wage based on the company's utilization rate, claiming it benefits Uber vs smaller companies.

I think it's a fair argument if we don't want Uber to monopolize the whole market.

I'm getting really sick of large corporations essentially moulding bureaucracy to benefit themselves and fuck over everyone else.

I'm also seeing things like popup more frequently like NET90 payment terms... or accounting departments that won't pay someone unless they fill out a form 100% correctly (oh, and BTW if you fill out the form incorrectly they'll sit on their hands and NOT notify you... so you basically only find out via nagging).

If I owed my bank money you think I could sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for them to guess what the proper request format is?

I recently had a company tell me that they only accept invoices ONE DAY A MONTH and there's nothing I can do about it. Uh, excuse me?

Forced arbitration is another wonderful example of course. Just sit around basically in a siege knowing that almost no individual person can outlast you (basically Uber's business model anyway, undercut the competition and put them out of business with time).

You need to CALL OUT these businesses loudly and publicly. This whole, "I'm not paying you for 90-120 days and then I notify you of a typo precisely 91 days later when you ask where the money is" needs to end.

So in that vein: Fuck GE Healthcare. They have NET120 and they will do all the things you and I have described and more in order to put off payment to small businesses for as long as possible.

I didn't get a check from them until their stuff broke (had nothing to do with my software but they thought it did) and I refused to help them until I got paid.

Whaddayaknow, I had a check overnighted to me with early morning delivery!

What happens when you offer a contract that says that net90 is %150 of costs, net30 is %120, net14 is %100, etc and any late payment (typo bullshit or not) has a %20 compound APR billed per month, like a credit card?

Basically a contract that would be fine if the corp doesn't play shenanigans, and wouldn't if they do.

The way I've heard works better is to pad the price in the first place, and give "30% discount for prompt payment (net14)". The people making the purchasing decision will use the discounted price, or perhaps they won't be price sensitive at all. The AP people will spot that they can save the firm 30% by paying your invoices early.

The problem is you are a small provider, and they are a megacorp. There are alternatives for them (all the other small companies), and the corporate terms are say 90 days. No small provider has the leverage to say no. The terms also just aren't up for negotiation, these are our payment terms.

The best I manage is having projects wherey ou bill half up front, and half on completion (or similar), though some companies also don't allow that.

The onyl time that changes is when terms ae totally ridiculous like GE and the 120 days. At that point it just isn't worth it. One client has annoyed me so much with late payment etc. forms, and just being a pain, that I've refused to deal with them again. It isn't worth the time.

They say no and will reject your contract. Now you have to find another project. When you're freelancing there are times when it's very hard to say no because you don't necessarily know when the next job is coming.

A contract is only as good as your willingness and financial capacity (paying lawyers) to enforce it.

Hope you told them (after cashing the check for your past services of course) that you won't help them due to their previous payment behavior, or that you require cleared pre-payment at a significantly higher rate.


As I was reading the complaint about net 90 I was thinking about GE and the unheard of 120 day terms. I'm glad it isn't just me.

That depends, how much money do you owe the bank? As Getty famously said, if you owe the bank $100, you have a problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, the bank has a problem.

The company I work at has only about 100 people, but we sell to large companies like the Fortune 500. Our payment terms have been net 90 the whole time I've worked here. Pain in the ass for reporting, but we'd be loath to do anything that might jeopardize closing a deal.

I'm conflicted about this. I think forced arbitration is a terrible predatory practice. But I also think there are lots of frivolous class action lawsuits. All the claims cited here were from a single class action lawsuit that was thrown out.

I'm all for Uber drivers making more money but they filed a class action lawsuit asking for a different compensation structure than what was offered. They knew the deal when they signed up and it seems like a sketchy attorney took on their case for a big pay day and when that was thrown out they're now taking this next step. If I sign an agreement with an employer about my compensation, I don't have a realistic expectation that I'd be able to sue them when they continue to do what they told me they'd do and I'm no longer happy with it (my recourse is to walk away and work somewhere that better matches what I'm looking for).

Frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost for customers almost everywhere. It's a big reason why medical costs are so high. People see a big organization that has some cash and they think they can file a suit as a way to quick riches.

>> Frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost for customers almost everywhere. It's a big reason why medical costs are so high.

This is asserted with confidence but with zero facts presented. A poster on this thread cites some numbers as putting the cost of malpractice insurance at 2.4% of the total cost of health care spending. For a comparison, I spend a lot more on car insurance as percent of the cost of driving a car.

The reason why so many are sure that litigation is making their life expensive is ideological. Maybe it is true, and certainly in some cases litigation is very expensive. But think about where you hear about it. A random guy on the street is very worrying about ambulance chasing lawyers driving up costs of health care. But Apple suing Samsung or Qualcomm for billions of dollars is of no concern.

It's not just the malpractice premiums, but all the defensive medicine the doctors do to address low-probability scenarios where the cost (and often the risk) of the testing isn't worth it.

That's another lovely anecdote. Are you sure that: - Unneeded testing isn't also pushed by patients? - Hospitals and administrators also push testing as a profit center?

I don't know.

Well, the one time I know I ran into it there was no pushing from me. I knew long-dormant malaria had decided to cease being dormant (the cyclic nature of the symptoms is a dead giveaway to anyone who has encountered it) the doc agreed with my assessment although he felt my symptoms were mild (which wasn't a surprise to me, my initial infection had been mild, also.) He looked up the right drugs (when and where you were infected say what drugs to use) and wrote the script--but also ordered a lab test to confirm.

The drugs stopped my symptoms in their tracks, a clear confirmation they were right and that before the lab could have replied even if they had done their job correctly. They had nobody trained to do it, though, and substituted a basically useless test instead. A week later the doc gets the results and that was the only time I ever heard him curse (this was also my wife's employer, I saw a lot more of him than a patient would.) If he had a microscope he could have done the proper test in 10 minutes (He worked with Doctors Without Borders and thus had more clinical experience with malaria than a specialist would.) $200 down the drain because he felt the need to CYA. It should have been try the drugs first and if they don't work then you investigate.

According to this article, malpractice costs (including the cost of defensive medicine done due to the fear of lawsuits) accounts for 2.4% of health care spending: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2010/09/07/the-true-c...

That’s a decent amount of money but I wouldn’t call it a big reason. One of the problems with bringing health care costs down is that there aren’t any big reasons for it, just lots and lots of little ones.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048809/ That was a shockingly low figure relative to what I’ve heard from friends in medicine. Looking up the original paper showed that the estimators used for that figure were very sketchy, and the authors of the paper did not claim otherwise. They were simply grasping for any estimator they could.

People in Medicine overestimate these costs as they represent a much smaller fraction of total Medicine costs than they assume.

EX: Their are 1.1 million doctors assuming 250k average salary it adds up around 275 billion ish which seems huge, except that’s out of 2.2 trillion in US heathcare spending. So, that’s only adds up to around 10 percent of total spending. And malpractice insurance is well below what a doctor makes on average.

Pills, buildings, janitors, machines, etc all add up.

Well if your a doctor, %2/%10 is %20 of revenue for the doctor, which feels large. AFAIK it's doctors or their hospital that pays for malpractice insurance, so it come out of their pocket directly.

They probably have stories of malpractice insurance not working that well, creating ruin for the doctors because of a relatively uncommon event, much like patients using the medical system.

Price health insurance coverage with and without an exclusion for the United States. Including the US will cost anywhere from3 to 5x more for the same coverage.

You could argue that the "one big reason" is "healthcare companies exist to make a profit, not a healthier society".

You could argue that the "one big reason" is "healthcare companies exist to make a profit, not a healthier society".

The same is true for food companies, software companies, and furniture companies, yet we don't see rapidly rising costs in those areas.

> Frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost for customers almost everywhere. It's a big reason why medical costs are so high. People see a big organization that has some cash and they think they can file a suit as a way to quick riches.

I've seen that bandied around for as long as I've lived. But considering that in the 90's there was a significant push to limit damages to a multitude of "people" (doctors and med companies), I'm going to need some citations for this claim.

My counterclaim why medicine is so damned expensive in this country, is people are willing to pay for it. Not like they have any other good choices. (Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/11/26/why-prescr... --- because they can)

The author followed up with another post, "Uber Tells its Side of the Story in Mass Arbitration Fight with 12,500 drivers": https://www.reuters.com/article/legal-us-otc-uber/uber-tells...

So the law allows the perpetrator of a tort to be judge, jury, and executioner over its victims and then further allows that same perpetrator to lie to a federal court without repercussions and not even carry out the arbitration it promised. Finally, it gives the victims no further recourse against the perpetrator. And this is supposed to be just? The law has a loophole essentially saying that it doesn't need to apply if both parties agree. Absolute insanity really. What's the point of even having a civil court system then? Imagine if they did this with criminal cases. The insanity of the current system does not preclude that. What a failure of government to do one of its basic duties.

Uber must hold the world record for the slowest inevitable capsizing of a corporate ship ever.

How can anyone think that the court system is a panacea for dispute resolution? Or even that it is a better alternative? The courts are the emergency rooms of dispute resolution: on the civil side clogged with foreclosure cases, personal injury slip and falls, divorce protection orders and absent judges who are sitting on the criminal side because the criminal courts are drug courts. Federal courts have limited jurisdiction and criminal cases get priority. Except for bankruptcy, there is no civil side. Would you rather sit in an emergency room or see your own doctor? That is how arbitration is supposed to work. The friction point is the payment of fees. And there is no reason why the disputes of a class of people could not be submitted to arbitration. A lawyerless individual is much better off navigating an arbitration by himself than trying to navigate an American courtroom. Of course, if you don't want concierge justice, you are free to stand in line with everyone else. Understand though, that concierge justice comes at a price. The idiots at Uber simply don't want to pay the price.

If arbitration were better for customers, it wouldn't have to be forced upon them.

In many contexts, it's not forced. Much of international commerce, for example.

Forced arbitration is broken, but not entirely useless.

The actual problem is vendor lock-in and the conflict of interest in those who choose the vendor.

There should be a law that allows you to pick whichever arbitrator you want (within limits, like picking court jurisdiction), rather than being forced into a single vendor.

Here's an example of vendor lock-in.

Many journal require that authors submit along with an "ORCID" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORCID .

The ORCID terms of use have mandatory arbitration - https://orcid.org/content/orcid-terms-use , and they choose the arbiter.

Thus, there's no way to publish in many journals without this agreement.

Oh, and the ORCID says registration can be done in "three easy steps" which takes only "30 seconds".

Yes, they basically say they don't expect people to read the terms of service as part of the registration!

I argue that the actual problem is that mandatory, binding arbitration is viewed as a contractual "choice" when it is not a choice if included in a contract of adhesion (so-called take-it-or-leave-it contracts).

If a contract can be negotiated on an individual basis between the contracting parties, fine, permit mandatory arbitration. However, mandatory arbitration should not be permitted otherwise because to do otherwise puts the lesser party at a distinct disadvantage, especially when all market participants include these clauses. For example, is it a "choice" about mandatory arbitration when both of the Internet providers serving my address have contracts of adhesion that include no-opt-out-clause mandatory arbitration? It is not.

At the bare minimum, the law should state that contracts of adhesion must include a 60-day opt-out clause for mandatory arbitration, with notice of opting out being provided via some reasonable means (e.g. not via Telex to a disused closet in Boca Raton). If arbitration is so great, let it stand on its own legs without being imposed by one side of the contract.

Do not say that to MPs. They would make arbitration a precondition of lawsuit as they have done here in Turkey.

Here's an interesting scenario which obtained in one of the courts that the arbitration refugees are dying to get into:


This is true with any arbitration. If you sue someone it costs about $500 to get the case started in a government subsidized court. In private arbitration, it costs about $1,500. The person initiating the case has to pay, not the defendant. In this case, the drivers are initiating the cases so must pay the initial filing fee.

Doesn't it depend on the terms of the arbitration clause inthe contract?

that is not how the current contract is written, and if the drivers did have to pay, then it would be assumed that they would get to pick the aribters to be used.

I haven't read the contract. Typically, an arbitration service can be named, in this case JAMS, but who pays the filing fee is not in the contract, since it's usually the one initiating the arbitration.

Give employees no legal recourse in actual courts, then make sure their sole remaining option doesn't get paid and doesn't start proceedings.

Let's say forced arbitration is acceptable (IMO, it's not). Why not make Uber provide a guarantee that arbitration must begin no later than 60 days after the claim is filed? Or would that be another example of the socialist regulations that are ruining free enterprise in America?

Seems reasonable to me. If you're going to require alternate forms of litigation it's only fair that you put a time limit on it. Otherwise this would certainly become quite a lucrative loophole for corporations to avoid any and all responsibility.

We're already headed down that route with the gig economy as a whole. The W2 is the first thing to go.

Meh. If they want to not perform on the arbitration clause, they get stuck with going to court. Seems like a win for employees?

This story is from December.

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