Class Arbitration: Someone Please Forward a Copy of the Bazzle Decision to the Alabama Supreme Court

By Fuller, Joseph R. | Jones Law Review, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Class Arbitration: Someone Please Forward a Copy of the Bazzle Decision to the Alabama Supreme Court


Fuller, Joseph R., Jones Law Review


EX PARTE SABRINA JOHNSON ET AL. & EX PARTE LAMAR JENKINS ET AL.

I. INTRODUCTION

Binding arbitration is often viewed by plaintiff's counsel as a death knell for injuries on unsophisticated consumers. Today, arbitration clauses grace the pages of most consumer contracts, whether it is purchasing a new car, contracting for home repairs, or purchasing a manufactured home. This essay discusses arbitration clauses and specifically the framework within clauses relating to class arbitration.

The use of arbitration as a method for settling disputes between nations dates back to antiquity. King Solomon was an arbitrator. (1) Phillip the Second, father of Alexander the Great, used arbitration to settle territorial disputes as far back as 377 B.C. (2) Arbitration is older than the common law system, and England used arbitration as a means of commercial dispute resolution as far back as 1224 A.D. (3) George Washington stated that he considered any arbitration decisions relating to his will, which contained an arbitration clause, as final and binding as any decision of the United States Supreme Court. (4)

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) is currently one of the most popular arbitration organizations in the world. (5) AAA employs over eight hundred people in thirty-five offices worldwide and represents over eight thousand arbitrators and mediators worldwide. As of 2002, AAA had administered over 230,000 cases and over two million cases in the past seventy-five years. (6) Proponents argue that arbitration could be used to ease the burden on the United States court system by decreasing the use of our courts as a tool to resolve property disputes, divorces, wills, and other similar civil courtroom situations. (7) Many economists predict that arbitration may become one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. Due to the final and binding nature of arbitration, less than 1.5% of all arbitration cases in the U.S. ever go to court. (8)

With federal courts overwhelmed, beginning in the late 1990s, companies took advantage of a 1925 law permitting "alternative dispute resolution" between agreeing parties. (9) Unlike public courtrooms, arbitration proceedings are not disclosed to the public. (10) A 2002 California law required arbitration firms within the state to publish arbitration results on their website. (11) Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group that sorted and analyzed the published data, determined that between January 2003 and March 2007 businesses won 94% of the 19,300 cases. (12) A single arbitrator made 1,292 rulings with only 21 in favor of the consumer. (13)

This Note will discuss a recent decision by the Alabama Supreme Court relating specifically to the court's current view of class arbitration. In 2008, the Alabama Supreme Court issued two writs of mandamus vacating a circuit judge's stay of arbitration proceedings. The opinion involves two petitions stemming from separate product liability actions filed in arbitration as contractually required by the sales agreement. For convenience, the court combined the two petitions into one opinion, and this Note does the same.

II. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

A. Recitation of the Undisputed Facts and Procedural Posture

In December 2006, Sabrina Johnson and others similarly situated, and Lamar Jenkins and others similarly situated filed separate complaints with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) pursuant to the contractual agreements between themselves and the manufacturers of mobile homes they purchased. (14) The complaints filed with AAA alleged violations relating to the improper design and manufacture of their mobile homes. (15)

The homeowners requested that AAA allow the arbitration of their claims on behalf of thousands of Alabamians who purchased defective mobile homes. (16) The AAA proceedings sought class arbitration in Montgomery County, Alabama. (17) The homeowners claimed that the walls of their homes were "literally rotting away as a result of a pervasive defect in their construction that [the mobile-home companies] have known about but failed to correct. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Class Arbitration: Someone Please Forward a Copy of the Bazzle Decision to the Alabama Supreme Court
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.