New Amtrak Arbitration Agreement

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me_little_me

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This is how you fix Amtrak or any other company that wants arbitration... basically mount what amounts to a denial of service attack and have them foot the bill for the arbitration as they are supposed to. Judges seem to be unsympathetic to their plight...

I thought of having the Arbiter's building have two entrances - one for poor sucker and one for the company's lawyer. The latter would enter into a giant hungry shark-filled pool and he/she would soon be eaten. Then I realized that wouldn't work. The sharks would never eat the lawyers - professional courtesy.
 

Thirdrail7

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Lawmakers are also in the process of writing the next surface transportation bill, which creates policy for Amtrak. On Wednesday, Lipinski hinted that any legislation surrounding the forced arbitration policy might be addressed through that bill.
I guess we missed this but as predicted:

Amtrak's mandatory arbitration policy would end under new legislation

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress yesterday introduced the "Ending Passenger Rail Forced Arbitration Act," which would end Amtrak's practice of forced arbitration agreements with passengers.


The legislation is among several efforts to pressure Amtrak to restore the legal rights of passengers and their families to bring any disputes agains the railroad before a judge and jury. In January, the nonprofit Public Citizen filed a lawsuit to have the clause removed from Amtrak's ticketing terms and conditions, the newspaper reported.

Reps. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.) introduced the bill in the House.
 

jis

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Lawmakers would do a service to Amtrak by blocking its ill considered Arbitration thing, before some bunch of lawyers decide to try to bankrupt it. The entire theory that the likes of Adnerson believed was that people would avoid Arbitration. They did not consider the possibility that someone would exploit the inherent weakness built into the strategy to exploit the company to make lots of money for themselves. It takes a little time for people to figure out these things. But sooner than you think companies will try to wiggle out of the corner that they have created for themselves.
 

me_little_me

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One thing they need to put in the legislation is that all punitive damages go to the government/state.
The purpose of punitive damages is to make the defendant stop that kind of behavior, not enrich the plaintiff (i.e enrich the attorney).
 

MARC Rider

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One thing they need to put in the legislation is that all punitive damages go to the government/state.
The purpose of punitive damages is to make the defendant stop that kind of behavior, not enrich the plaintiff (i.e enrich the attorney).
Perhaps the legislation could allow for recovery of legal fees in addition to damages, so that the actual plaintiff can recover the full damages. I know it's fashionable to trash-talk lawyers, but a good lawyer is going to put out a lot of work to represent the plaintiff and does deserve to get paid for it.
 

IndyLions

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One thing they need to put in the legislation is that all punitive damages go to the government/state.
The purpose of punitive damages is to make the defendant stop that kind of behavior, not enrich the plaintiff (i.e enrich the attorney).
I understand your point, but don’t the judges work for the government? I know it’s a stretch, but if the punitive awards go to the government, aren’t the judges awarding them experiencing a conflict of interest?
 

flitcraft

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Jan 10, 2018
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Punitive damages going to the government wouldn't work. Why would a plaintiff and their lawyer spend their own money to try to prove punitive damages if they weren't going to benefit? Asking them to work for the government for free wouldn't be tolerated in any other context--would you agree to work for nothing on behalf of the government? I'm not anti-government by any means, but I sure wouldn't.

Punitive damages seekers are often referred to as 'private attorneys general"--they get punitive damages, and as a result, we are all better off because the defendant has been deterred from tortious misconduct in the future.

Now, I think a better question is why the first plaintiff to sue for punitive damages will get them, but plaintiff number two does not, since the defendant has already been assessed them. I have always thought that there should be a punitive damages pool, overseen by a special master, to divide punitive damages among similarly situated plaintiffs rather than reward a race to the courthouse. No jurisdiction has chosen to do this, though; probably because administrative costs would be too high. It would be fairer, though...
 

flitcraft

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Don’t the judges work for the government? I know it’s a stretch, but if the punitive awards go to the government, aren’t the judges awarding them experiencing a conflict of interest?
Actually, no, in that judges salaries are capped--they don't get increased by additional governmental revenues. But I will say that years ago, in Seattle Municipal Court, the judges were unusually stern in sentencing and fining those convicted of meter picking--stealing parking meter money. The reason was that the city used parking meter revenue for the court system--including paying for bailiffs, court-appointed experts, etc. So, even though the judges weren't personally benefiting, they did seem to take meter picking way more seriously than other property crimes!
 

Bob Dylan

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Asking them to work for the government for free wouldn't be tolerated in any other context--would you agree to work for nothing on behalf of the government? I'm not anti-government by any means, but I sure wouldn't.
The way things are going, We'll all end up Working for the Governmrnt for Free!!!! 😡 😔( except the 1%)
 

me_little_me

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I understand your point, but don’t the judges work for the government? I know it’s a stretch, but if the punitive awards go to the government, aren’t the judges awarding them experiencing a conflict of interest?
No more than a judge fining a defendant in criminal court. In fact, it's a lot better than unduly enriching the plaintiff who, theoretically is receiving compensation for being damaged.
 
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