How companies use arbitration clauses to screw consumers: A cautionary tale

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Via the Philadelphia Inquirer, something consumers should consider:

“When you download Uber’s app, you agree that you’re older than 18, that you’re not using a stolen credit card to pay your driver, and — if you’re like one Philadelphia woman and fracture your spine in a Center City car crash — that you won’t seek a jury trial against the ride-share giant.

“But, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge has ruled that, because Uber can’t prove that Jillian Kemenosh actually read the company’s terms and conditions before she signed up or rode in the car that ran a red light, she can’t be forced to settle her claims behind closed doors.

“Sitting in the back seat of an Uber in March 2018, Kemenosh was more than halfway home on a four-mile trip from Columbus Boulevard to her Center City apartment when the driver of the 2010 Toyota Highlander ran a red light at 16th and Vine Streets, crashing into another vehicle.

“Suffering a fracture to her spine, concussion, and traumatic brain injury, Kemenosh sued Uber, its local subsidiaries, and the driver, requesting a jury to determine her payout.

“But, Uber argues in court documents, by approving the ride-share’s “terms and conditions” when she downloaded the app in 2013, Kemenosh had already forfeited her right to a jury, agreeing instead to resolve any legal disputes only through binding arbitration, which forces users to waive their rights to sue and settle matters privately.

“Proponents of arbitration say that it’s faster and cheaper than court. But critics say it revokes a consumer’s right to publicly take action against a company.”

CPAP maker pays $37.5M in kickback lawsuit

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Via the Associated Press. Imagine that — corruption everywhere, even while you sleep:

“SAN DIEGO (AP) — ResMed, a San Diego-based company that sells sleep apnea machines, will pay $37.5 million to settle allegations that it provided kickbacks to obtain customer referrals, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

“The settlement covers five whistleblower lawsuits filed on behalf of the federal government. The lawsuits say that the company provided free services and equipment to medical equipment suppliers, sleep labs and other health care providers in violation of the federal False Claims Act.

“Paying any type of illegal remuneration to induce patient referrals undermines the integrity of our nation’s health care system,” Jody Hunt, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s civil division, said in a statement. “When a patient receives a prescription for a device to treat a health care condition, the patient deserves to know that the device was selected based on quality of care considerations and not on unlawful payments from equipment manufacturers.”