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The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009

February 13th, 2009 by Madelaine Eppenstein

As predicted, with the advent of a new administration in Washington the Arbitration Fairness Act is back on track.  Representative Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA) re-introduced the legislation now known as the “Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009″ (H.R. 1020) on February 12, 2009.  Ted Eppenstein testified at hearings on October 25, 2007 before the U.S. Congress House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law in support of predecessor legislation, H.R. 3010, the “Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007.”

If passed, the legislation will restore to investors the right to choose to go to court to adjudicate their grievances (the new bill was unavailable for review at this writing).  The Bill will not eliminate the arbitration alternative.  Currently, most investor disputes subject to arbitration must be adjudicated at FINRA.  Ted’s testimony in Congress also included our decades-old recommendation for the formation of an independent arbitration forum outside the brokerage industry to settle such disputes.

The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 was introduced jointly on July 12, 2007 by Representative Johnson and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to amend the Federal Arbitration Act in order to prohibit pre-dispute arbitration agreements involving employment, consumer, franchise or civil rights agreements. In his appearance before the House Subcommittee in 2007 Ted urged Congressman Johnson and his colleagues to specifically include investors within the reach of the statute.

Ted’s written statement arguing for inclusion of investors as a protected class of consumers under the Act is available on the Subcommittee’s Web site. A copy of Ted’s written statement to the Subcommittee (without exhibits) can also be viewed on the Eppenstein and Eppenstein Web site.

Posted in Securities Arbitration & Litigation

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