Anti-Arbitration Efforts Already Seeing Success

By July 31, 2008Briefly Legal

Below we listed the various pieces of legislation with anti-arbitration provisions that the American Association for Justice, the trial lawyers association, lobbied on in the second quarter. Included was H.R. 6124, the farm bill.

Doggone it if the language didn’t make it into the law: Public Law 110-234

Section 210 includes provisions that allow livestock and poultry producers to refuse contract provisions requiring arbitration.

`(a) In General.--Any livestock or poultry contract that contains a 
provision requiring the use of arbitration to resolve any controversy 
that may arise under the contract shall contain a provision that allows 
a producer or grower, prior to entering the contract to decline to be 
bound by the arbitration provision.

Bit by bit, you can chip away at arbitration and produce more litigation.

The full section is in the extended entry.

`SEC. 210. <<NOTE: 7 USC 197c.>>  ARBITRATION.

    ``(a) In General.--Any livestock or poultry contract that contains a 
provision requiring the use of arbitration to resolve any controversy 
that may arise under the contract shall contain a provision that allows 
a producer or grower, prior to entering the contract to decline to be 
bound by the arbitration provision.
    ``(b) Disclosure.--Any livestock or poultry contract that contains a 
provision requiring the use of arbitration shall contain terms that 
conspicuously disclose the right of the contract producer or grower, 
prior to entering the contract, to decline the requirement to use 
arbitration to resolve any controversy that may arise under the 
livestock or poultry contract.
    ``(c) Dispute Resolution.--Any contract producer or grower that 
declines a requirement of arbitration pursuant to subsection (b) has the 
right, to nonetheless seek to resolve any controversy that may arise 
under the livestock or poultry contract, if, after the controversy 
arises, both parties consent in writing to use arbitration to settle the 
controversy.
    ``(d) Application.--Subsections (a) (b) and (c) shall apply to any 
contract entered into, amended, altered, modified, renewed,

[[Page 122 STAT. 1358]]

or extended after the date of the enactment of the Food, Conservation, 
and Energy Act of 2008 .
    ``(e) Unlawful Practice.--Any action by or on behalf of a packer, 
swine contractor, or live poultry dealer that violates this section 
(including any action that has the intent or effect of limiting the 
ability of a producer or grower to freely make a choice described in 
subsection (b)) is an unlawful practice under this Act.
    ``(f) Regulations.--The Secretary shall promulgate regulations to--
            ``(1) carry out this section; and
            ``(2) establish criteria that the Secretary will consider in 
        determining whether the arbitration process provided in a 
        contract provides a meaningful opportunity for the grower or 
        producer to participate fully in the arbitration process.''.

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