Copyright (c) 2002 Alabama Law Review
Alabama Law Review
ARTICLE: The Federal Arbitration Act: The Supreme Court's Erroneous Statutory Interpretation, Stare Decisis, and a Proposal for Change
53 Ala. L. Rev. 789
Larry J. Pittman *
For the past thirty or more years, there has been a general movement in America supporting different types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. 1 Arbitration--the use of arbitrators to decide disputes--is one such process. 2 Arbitration differs from a jury trial in that arbitration uses an arbitrator (who frequently has expertise in the relevant subject matter) who will issue an award in favor of one of the parties after hearing abbreviated presentations from attorneys representing the parties. 3
Although the use of arbitration dates back many centuries--even to the glory days of Greek civilization 4--the use of arbitration in America has recently caused controversy, leading to a call for reform in the way that the system is used to resolve modern disputes. 5
More specifically, there has been, and currently is, a legitimate concern over the use of adhesion contracts that force consumers to accept arbitration to resolve future disputes, including personal injury claims as well as contractual claims, arising out of their purchases of consumer goods. 6 Frequently, one cannot purchase a car, apply for a credit card, open a checking or savings account in a bank, purchase stock on a major stock exchange, or take a cruise trip on a major cruise line without having to accept a non-negotiable contract that contains an arbitration clause mandating the arbitration of any and all disputes arising out of that contract. 7 Further, it is not unreasonable to expect that someday soon attorneys who work in ...
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