Schwartz to Testify Before Congress on Binding Arbitration Agreements

Victor Schwartz, Partner and Co-Chair of Shook’s Public Policy Group, has been invited to testify before a full committee hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The topic is “Arbitration in America," and the hearing will be live-streamed on the Committee’s website

Committee members will hear testimony on the necessity of legislation to bar or limit the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration agreements (also referred to as “forced arbitration”). The chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.), and Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) appear to be in favor of such legislation, as do members Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). In addition, the plaintiffs’ organization American Association for Justice has lobbied Congress in favor of such measures. 

However, Schwartz will testify that there are already a multiplicity of laws in place to ensure that binding pre-dispute agreements are fair and that the alternative of civil litigation is often impractical for consumers or employees unless potential damages are extremely high and the outcome of litigation is virtually certain. Although the views he will express are solely his own, he will be testifying on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.