AAI Leads Call for Congress to Restore Victims’ Antitrust Rights by Ending Forced Arbitration

The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) and ten other organizations supporting antitrust enforcement urged Congress to pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act). The bill would restore the ability of consumers, workers and businesses to effectively vindicate their private Sherman and Clayton Act rights by invalidating contract provisions that mandate individual arbitration of antitrust disputes. Passing the bill would prevent recent Supreme Court interpretations of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) from allowing class action waivers inserted into must-sign contracts to serve as de facto exculpatory clauses in a large and important category of antitrust cases.

The letter explains why an affordable procedural path to claims aggregation is essential to an effective antitrust law regime and thus to the maintenance of a free market economy. Without a procedural mechanism for aggregating claims, antitrust violations often go uncompensated, under-deterred, or altogether un-remedied. Worse, private victims can be forced to forgo their rights and remedies unknowingly and involuntarily when forced arbitration requirements and class action waivers are surreptitiously inserted into standard form adhesion contracts.

Section 3 of the FAIR Act would solve this problem by amending the FAA to invalidate contract provisions that mandate individual arbitration of antitrust disputes.

The letter was joined by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws (COSAL), Consumer Reports, the Economic Policy Institute, the National Family Farm Coalition, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Fund United Stockgrowers Association (R-CALF USA), Towards Justice, and Travelers United.