February 22, 2016

New ACS Issue Brief Highlights Forced Arbitration’s Link to Economic Inequality

Deepak Gupta, Lina Khan

Paul Guequierre, Director of Communications, (202) 393-6187 or pguequierre@acslaw.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The rise and prevalence of forced arbitration clauses should be understood as both an outcome of and contributor to economic inequality and the national conversation about economic inequality should therefore include the debate over forced arbitration. That’s according to a new Issue Brief released today by the American Constitution Society titled, “Arbitration as Wealth Transfer” by Deepak Gupta, founding principal of Gupta Wessler PLLC and former senior counsel at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Lina Khan, J.D. candidate at Yale Law School and fellow at New America.   

Over the past several decades, aided by the decisive vote of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a preference for arbitration over access to courts has emerged in the Supreme Court. Whether workers, consumers, small businesses or stockholders, plaintiffs have seen their ability to hold wrong-doers accountable in a court of law nearly vanish in a variety of context. But the authors argue that a change in the Court’s ideological make up, as well as imminent agency action and congressional rumblings may signal a shift away from this trend.

The Issue Brief examines the increased use of forced arbitration and bans on class action lawsuits in a variety of employment and consumer contracts and how those provisions limit or completely eliminate the ability of injured parties to recover damages when companies commit labor, consumer protection and antitrust violations.

Read the full Issue Brief here. To speak with the author, contact Paul Guequierre at pguequierre@acslaw.org or (202) 393-6187.

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), founded in 2001 and one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations, is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals dedicated to making the law a force to improve lives of all people. For more information about the organization or to locate one of the more than 200 lawyer and law student chapters in 48 states, please visit www.acslaw.org.