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June 7, 2000

Anti-Arbitration Bill Sets Dangerous Precedent, Warns U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2000 – In testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, the United States Chamber of Commerce today criticized the Fairness and Voluntary Arbitration Act, H.R. 534, for undermining contracts and forcing businesses that have agreed to work through the arbitration process into the congested court system.

“H.R. 534 establishes a dangerous anti-contract and anti-arbitration precedent,” said Jim Wootton, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The legislation has far reaching implications for banning arbitration, and sets the stage for trial lawyers to flood the courts with excessive litigation.”

The bill limits the choices parties have in resolving contract disputes, forcing the parties to bypass the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, according to the Chamber. “ADR typically is quicker, cheaper and more predictable than civil litigation. Moreover, it is much harder for trial lawyers to exploit,” Wootton said.

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