<![CDATA[John Gear Law Office & Salem Consumer Law    503-339-7787 - Law for Real People blog]]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:20:55 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Tell your reps!  "Support the Arbitration Fairness Act"]]>Thu, 19 Nov 2015 21:18:46 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/tell-your-reps-support-the-arbitration-fairness-actPicture
Tell Congress: Ban Forced Arbitration
Congress Should Restore Consumer Rights by Passing the Arbitration Fairness Act.

In early November, the New York Times published a three-part investigative series about the corporate bullying tactic of forced arbitration, spreading the word about what happens when we lose when we “click here to agree.”
Now it’s time to do something about it! 
There are proposed bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that would eliminate corporations’ ability to steal our constitutional rights in employment, consumer, civil rights and antitrust cases. But Congress has stalled in making these bills become law, and more consumers are losing their constitutional rights.

Please click the link to sign our petition
and tell Congress:

it’s time to end the get-out-of-jail-free card that Wall Street has buried in the fine print.

Petition to Congress:
We, the undersigned, call on Congress to pass the Arbitration Fairness Act (S. 1133 and H.R. 2087), legislation that would ensure that the use of arbitration to resolve disputes is truly voluntary and not forced on consumers and workers in the fine-print terms of corporate contracts. Restore our ability to exercise our constitutional right to a day in court.

<![CDATA[A Veteran's Day call to stop scam "charities" that prey on people by pretending to be supporting vets]]>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 18:37:56 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/a-veterans-day-call-to-stop-scam-charities-that-prey-on-people-by-pretending-to-be-supporting-vetsHat tip to Nonprofit Quarterly

The AARP recent publicized eight typical veterans scams known to target seniors. Among the examples are “Bogus charities that claim to benefit veterans … targeting patriotic older donors.” The AARP recommended the usual, that donors check with the Better Business Bureau, the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar to verify the charities seeking their donations.

The striking dimension of the story of troubled and troubling veterans charities is that some of these charities go on and on and on. The Chicago Tribune reported at the end of August about a charity called Viet Now based in Rockford, Illinois. Most of the money donated to Viet Now last year, about 85 percent, went to telephone solicitors. Although some $1.4 million was raised in the name of Viet Now in 2014, it spent little on its “programs,” such as they were, including scholarships to the children of veterans to a grand total of $3,985. Since 2003, 90 percent of the $24 million raised by Viet Now has gone to telemarketers.

<![CDATA[True for ANY used car dealer, not just CarMax]]>Tue, 10 Nov 2015 00:10:01 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/true-for-any-used-car-dealer-not-just-carmax
<![CDATA[NYT gets it right on arbitration]]>Sun, 08 Nov 2015 17:35:54 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/nyt-gets-it-right-on-arbitrationOutstanding editorial in response to the Times's own exposé of the systemic abuse of Americans by corporate persons:

Even more disturbing, the shift away from the civil justice system has gone beyond disputes about money. Nursing homes, obstetrics practices and private schools increasingly use forced-arbitration clauses to shield themselves from being taken to court over alleged discrimination, elder abuse, fraud, hate crimes, medical malpractice and wrongful death.

For the most part, Congress has looked the other way. Federal regulators, however, are starting to fight back. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to propose a rule soon to forbid arbitration clauses that ban class actions in cases involving financial services and products. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is expected to issue updated nursing home regulations next year, is considering a ban on forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.

Reversing the broader trend of forced arbitration, however, will require public outcry loud and long enough to stir the White House and Congress to action. Many people interviewed in The Times’s series did not realize that their right to sue had been lost until they needed it. A common refrain was the disbelief that this could happen in America. But it is happening, and it needs to stop.

<![CDATA[This is the kind of company you should think of when you think about arbitration clauses]]>Sat, 07 Nov 2015 20:14:25 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/this-is-the-kind-of-company-you-should-think-of-when-you-think-about-arbitration-clausesHat tip to Pacific Standard magazine:
Moreover, records show that the council hasn’t always had complete information about all the violations and fines at nursing homes owned by or affiliated with applicants it reviewed. That’s because the Department of Health, which prepares character-and-competence recommendations for the council, doesn’t report them all.

The department’s assessments of Landa and other owners of SentosaCare homes have routinely found that the facilities provided a “substantially consistent high level of care”—the standard owners must meet to receive council approval.
Yet the agency’s assessments in 15 separate ownership applications since 2013 did not mention at least 20 federal fines paid by the group’s homes, records show. In more than a dozen cases, the department reported “no repeat violations,” even when a SentosaCare home had been cited multiple times for the same serious deficiency.

<![CDATA[Keep your current car is usually best. But if you must buy another, buy right . . . (NPR audio)]]>Fri, 06 Nov 2015 21:27:29 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/keep-your-current-car-is-usually-best-but-if-you-must-buy-another-buy-right-npr-audioOther than a house or a college education, buying a car is the largest purchase many Americans make. There's a lot of stress associated with it. WGLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with Dan Deneen, a McLean County Attorney who frequently represents car buyers against dealerships. To buy a car the low stress way, Deneen says approaching a car purchase should be done systematically.

When you go to a car lot, Deneen also says,
take an extensive test drive.

<![CDATA[VW Monday: There are no other cheating cars!  VW Tuesday: Oh, you meant THOSE other cheating cars . . . .]]>Thu, 05 Nov 2015 01:24:33 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/vw-monday-there-are-no-other-cheating-cars-vw-tuesday-oh-you-meant-those-other-cheating-carsVolkswagen Finds Emissions Problems In 800K More Cars

Volkswagen said Tuesday that an internal investigation headed up by Jones Day has uncovered emissions irregularities in 800,000 more cars, a day after it denied a slew of new allegations from U.S. regulators that it installed software to skirt emissions testing on more cars than previously admitted.

<![CDATA[Powerful New York Times exposé on privatized "justice" (arbitration)]]>Tue, 03 Nov 2015 22:51:01 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/powerful-new-york-times-expose-on-privatized-justice-arbitration

The nation’s paper of record, The New York Times, published an investigative series of front-page stories exposing the corporate bullying tactic of forced arbitration. The stories are based on thousands of court records, interviews with lawyers, judges, arbitrators and the people who have been affected by forced arbitration in 35 states.   

The first story, “Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Decks of Justice", describes the pernicious practice of forced arbitration, a get-out-of-jail free card for corporate wrongdoing.

The second story, "In Arbitration, a Privatization of the Justice System", tells stories of consumers who lost their right to go to court when a school, a car dealership, and even a nursing home had done them wrong.

The third and final story, “In Religious Arbitration, Scripture is the Rule of Law”, focuses on how religious tribunals, once used to settle family disputes and spiritual debates, are now being used to sort out secular problems like claims of financial fraud and wrongful death.

Many individuals and families featured in the NYT series have also shared their stories on Take Justice Back of how forced arbitration impacted their lives, including Debbie Brenner.

These NYT articles are a momentous addition to our ongoing advocacy efforts to end forced arbitration. You can make a difference by spreading the word and further exposing the corporations that abuse the fine print! Join us in the fight to end forced arbitration:

Read and Share the Articles Online: Share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Include the hashtag #ForcedArbitration

Sign the Petitions:

Tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect consumers and stop forced arbitration: Click here

Tell nursing homes to stop stealing seniors’ rights: Click here

Send this email to Your Friends & Family: warn them to read the fine print and encourage them to become a Take Justice Back Activist

We know that forced arbitration is important to you and we hope you’ll continue to stand with us in the months ahead as we work to end this attack on consumer rights.

Thank you!

The Take Justice Back Team

<![CDATA[Mark your calendars, start making your lists: Empty Bowls 2015!]]>Tue, 03 Nov 2015 20:31:44 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/mark-your-calendars-start-making-your-lists-empty-bowls-2015
The Willamette Art Center
hosts the annual
"Empty Bowls"
Benefit Sale:
Saturday, Nov. 21  - 9 am to 5 pm
Sunday, Nov 22, 2015 - Noon to 4 pm
to benefit Marion Polk Food Share
<![CDATA[In Justice Roberts' America, corporations aren't just people, they're the only people with rights]]>Sat, 31 Oct 2015 17:00:43 GMThttp://www.johngearlaw.com/law-for-real-people-blog/in-justice-roberts-america-corporations-arent-just-people-theyre-the-only-people-with-rightsGood New York Times piece on mandatory binding arbitration clauses, the fine print that corporations use to immunize themselves for their abuses of consumers.

The corporate lawyers on the Supreme Court have ushered America into its post-Constitutional phase, repealing the 7th Amendment entirely because their corporate masters hate having to face a jury of real people. They prefer forums where the only thing that matters is how much money you have.