Senior Partner Hal Rosner Quoted in Arbitration Story

It’s almost impossible to live in modern America without regularly signing away one’s constitutional right to a jury trial or even access to small claims court.

Those multi-page contracts you sign or click through online without reading invariably contain mandatory arbitration clauses that bar you from taking disputes to court.

The clauses are ever-present in contracts for medical procedures, car rentals and countless other services. Manufacturers have even begun placing mandatory arbitration clauses inside the plastic wrap on their products. The moment you unwrap the plastic on some new electronic products, you’ve lost your chance to take the company to court.

“When you pay your utility bills, you consent to arbitration. When you pay your credit card bills, you consent to arbitration, when you buy a house, you consent to arbitration,” said Hal Rosner, a local plaintiffs attorney. “There’s nothing you’re doing anymore that isn’t consent.”

Arbitration is supposed to provide a cheaper and quicker way to settle legal disputes than the court system. But academics, attorneys, plaintiffs and even an independent arbitrator contacted for this story described arbitration as an uneven playing field, with consumers facing an uphill battle from the start.

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