Silence from the United States Supreme Court and Disagreement among Lower Courts Suggest an Uncertain Future for Class-Wide Arbitration
18 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2008
Date Written: January 6, 2004
With growth in the area of arbitration agreements relating to employment, credit cards, loans, and other form agreements, the issue of class-wide arbitration has become an area of significant judicial activity. However, increased judicial activity has not resulted in increased clarity; to the dismay of those parties seeking to pursue or avoid class-wide arbitration, the law on this issue has become unpredictable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The United States Supreme Court has expressed the importance of the class-action as a valuable device for vindicating plaintiffs' rights. Additionally, the Supreme Court has recognized arbitration as a valuable form of dispute resolution. In contrast, when the class-action and arbitration are found in the form of class-wide arbitration, the Supreme Court has been less than swift in establishing binding precedent for the lower courts to follow. Although the Bazzle decision was concerned primarily with whether silent agreements preclude class-wide arbitration, this casenote will address class-wide arbitration in general, and the manner in which the Supreme Court treated the issue in Bazzle.
Keywords: arbitration, class arbitration, Bazzle, arbitration clauses
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