On September 20, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act. The FAIR Act prohibits pre-dispute arbitration agreements in consumer, employment, antitrust, and civil rights cases. The Act also prohibits any agreements or practices that interfere with an individual’s right to participate in joint, class, or collective action. Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Act in February of this year (H.R. 1423 and S. 610, respectively).
In a press release, Rep. Johnson stated that “[t]he deck has been stacked against American consumers in favor of big business for far too long . . . The FAIR Act would level the playing field for all Americans.” Rep. Johnson added that “[a] privatized justice system is the ultimate injustice.”
Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule reversing the 2016 ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes. As of September 2019, nursing homes may begin requesting residents (or resident representatives) to sign voluntary pre-dispute arbitration agreements. The Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center) is encouraging consumers not to sign these arbitration agreements and to try to rescind any pre-dispute arbitration agreement within 30 days of signing (which is their right under federal regulation 42 C.F.R. §483.70(n)(3)).
The Center has long called for an end to pre-dispute arbitration agreements and supports the FAIR Act.
- For more information about the FAIR Act, please visit: https://hankjohnson.house.gov/sites/hankjohnson.house.gov/files/documents/The%20FAIR%20Act%20One%20Pager%20.pdf.
- For more information about arbitration in nursing homes, please visit: https://www.medicareadvocacy.org/rule-allowing-pre-dispute-arbitration-agreements-in-nursing-homes-takes-effect/.
September 26, 2019 – D. Valanejad