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U.S. Chamber Commends Supreme Court for Preserving Availability of Arbitration to Consumers and Businesses

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today praised a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that preserves the availability of arbitration—a fair, efficient, and economical method of alternative dispute resolution.  In its ruling in the case American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant (available here), the Court again upheld the right of contracting parties to agree to resolve their disputes through a system that is more accessible to consumers and businesses than the judicial system. 

“The purpose of this case was to torpedo the ability of two parties to resolve their disputes through arbitration instead of litigation. Today’s ruling yet again upholds arbitration,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).  “The only people who lose under today’s decision are those in the plaintiffs’ bar who want to cash in by forcing disputes into already overburdened courts.”

“Today’s decision preserves contracting parties’ right to choose a less costly and more efficient method of dispute resolution that is much more accessible to consumers and businesses than the expensive and overwhelmed judicial system,” said Kate Todd, vice president of the U.S. Chamber’s National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC).  “Today’s decision does not foreclose any plaintiff with a legitimate claim from invoking their rights and pursuing their claim.”

Arbitration is a procedure for resolving legal disputes outside the courts by utilizing an impartial third party whose decision the parties have agreed to accept.  In most agreements to arbitrate, parties agree in advance that if a dispute arises between them, they will go to arbitration instead of filing a lawsuit.  Pre-dispute arbitration has been used in the United States for more than 80 years to provide a fair, efficient, and effective alternative to our overcrowded and costly court system. 

ILR has worked extensively to educate policy leaders on the benefits of arbitration as an alternative to the traditional legal system.  In addition, NCLC filed two amicus curiae briefs in American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant (available here and here).

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

NCLC is the litigation arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Litigation Center advocates for the fair treatment of business in the courts and before regulatory agencies.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.