AFSA Opposes Un-FAIR Advantage for Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

The American Financial Services Association reiterated its opposition to Congressional efforts to limit the use of arbitration in contracts. AFSA strongly opposes HR 1423, the “Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act” (FAIR), which would effectively outlaw arbitration provisions in private contracts. Despite broad opposition from an array of industries, the bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee on September 10 by a largely party-line vote of 22-14, and was approved by the House of Representatives on September 20, also by a largely party-line tally of 225-186.  

“We are disappointed by this vote. The FAIR Act puts a thumb on the scales of justice for plaintiff lawyers. Arbitration is a beneficial form of dispute resolution that can be leveraged by all parties,” said AFSA CEO and President, Bill Himpler. “That’s why we oppose HR 1423.”

Earlier this year, AFSA joined a coalition of more than 20 trade associations representing a large swath of the American economy, that sent a letter opposing the legislation to all members of Congress. The letter argued that the only clear winners of the FAIR Act are plaintiffs’ trial lawyers, who end up taking the lion’s share of class-action settlement proceeds while providing little to consumers.

“[C]lass action lawsuits take years to be adjudicated, clog the court system, and result in comparatively small payouts for consumers,” AFSA wrote in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee. “Arbitration is already governed by the Federal Arbitration Act and has been approved by the Supreme Court, which recognized arbitration as a fair and effective mode of settling disputes between borrowers and creditors.”