CAS = Consumer Abuse Services?
Matt Melamed and Paul Bland blog over at CL&P blog about some seriously suspect behavior on the part of an arbitrator hired by Construction Arbitration Services, in so-called "resolution" of a dispute filed by homeowners against a construction company that really went overboard with its horrible business practices. Over at Tortdeform I discuss this as yet another shoddy, shady, and shameful example of why forced private arbitration is such a darling to the big business industry, and such a menace to… well, everyone else.
An excerpt from their CL&P post, Construction Arbitration Services’ Arbitrator Allegedly Destroys Evidence, Faces Motion for Contempt:
In a recent case in Louisiana... court filings suggest that CAS has clearly crossed the line into inappropriate behavior. According to court documents, the arbitrator provided by CAS, Ben DeVries, destroyed all evidence submitted during an arbitration hearing within days of issuing the arbitration award. Worse, the pleadings in the case set out that DeVries destroyed the evidence AFTER the plaintiffs had told him in writing that they planned to appeal the award and AFTER DeVries had promised to safeguard the evidence. CAS and DeVries now face a motion for contempt in the 26th Judicial District Court, Bosser County, Louisiana – a motion supported by an affidavit in which opposing counsel, the builder’s attorney, states that he also heard DeVries promise to safeguard the evidence. In response, CAS has graciously offered . . . a free arbitration proceeding.
Protecting corporations from liability and from the public's eye, removing ordinary people's right to take legitimate disputes against wrongful corporations to court, allowing these disputes to be settled by people who've been hired by the corporation, many of whom have never been judges... Yes, this is TortDeform at its worst (or, if you're Big Biz, its finest).
You can read about Pro-Civil Justice legislation that would prohibit corporations from forcing people into arbitration by visiting TheMiddleClass.org's Civil Justice Section. You can also browse TortDeform posts on the topic or read the binding mandatory arbitration section of Election '08: A Pro-Civil Justice Presidential Platform.