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Can You Change a Service Contract Only on a Website?

Jul 30, 2007, 15:45 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by PJ)

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"Now, when the lower court ruled against Douglas, he was in a bit of a pickle because the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 16, doesn't authorize interlocutory appeals of a district court order compelling arbitration. Once arbitration has got you, it's really got you, as you will see when you read the ruling. In the courts words, to overturn an arbitration award, "a party needs to show 'affirmative misconduct' or 'irrational[ity]' in the arbitration to vacate" it. That's why companies like arbitration instead of the regular court system, I suppose. And here is the guy wanting to do a class action, and now he's been told he has to go through arbitration, but the same court that is upholding that requirement is at the same time upholding the other new terms added, presumably, including the waiver of any class actions. Worse, as the court explains, if he won the arbitration regarding damages claims, on what basis would he then have standing to appeal? It would then be theoretically possible that the decision that forced arbitration on him would also insulate the decision from any review."

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