From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes.
The One Hundred Eleventh United States Congress began on January 3, 2009 and will last till January 3, 2011. Following is a summary of some alternative dispute resolution bills currently being considered during this session. Click on the bill number for its text and on the status link to find the bill’s most recent legislative action.
Stay tuned to Disputing for more legislative updates!
- The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009 would ban mandatory pre-dispute arbitration in employment, consumer, and franchise contracts. Senate version: S. 931 and Status. House version: H.R. 1020 and Status.
- The Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 would amend the National Labor Relations Act to require first mediation and then binding arbitration if both parties are unable to reach an agreement within a certain time frame. Senate version: S. 560 and Status. House version: H.R. 1409 and Status.
- The Payday Loan Reform Act of 2009 would amend the Truth in Lending Act to establish additional payday loan requirements to protect consumers. This bill prohibits a mandatory arbitration clause that is “oppressive, unfair, unconscionable, or substantially in derogation of the rights of consumers.” H.R. 1214 and Status.
- The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009 would render pre-dispute arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts unenforceable. S. 512 and Status. House version: H.R. 1237 and Status.
- The Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009 would amend the Truth in Lending Act of 1968. The bill provides that “[n]o residential mortgage loan and no extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan secured by the principal dwelling of the consumer, other than a reverse mortgage may include terms which require arbitration of any other nonjudicial procedure as the method for resolving any controversy.” H.R. 1728 and Status.
- The Labor Relations First Contract Negotiations Act of 2009 would amend the National Labor Relations Act to require the arbitration of initial contract negotiation disputes. H.R. 243 and Status.
- The Consumer Fairness Act of 2009 would treat arbitration clauses which are unilaterally imposed on consumers as an unfair and deceptive trade practice and prohibit their use in consumer transactions. H.R. 991 and Status.
- An Act Making Appropriations for the Department of Defense for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2010, and for Other Purposes contains an amendment that bans funds to defense contractors who require workers (employees and independent contractors) to arbitrate “any claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.” H.R. 3326 ; Amendment; and Status.
- The Preserving Homes and Communities Act of 2009 would require certain mortgagees to make loan modifications, establish a grant program for state and local government mediation programs, and create databases on foreclosures. S. 1731 and Status.