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Forced Arbitration Is Bad for All Americans

Mark Napier

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on December 18 on the pending Arbitration Fairness Act of 2013 (S.878 / H.R. 1844.) This bill is critical to employees, nursing home residents, credit card holders, banking customers, and other consumers – virtually all Americans. Forced arbitration language is becoming commonplace in employment handbooks and consumer agreements. Persons who agree to forced arbitration typically never know they forfeited their rights until a dispute arises.

Forced arbitration takes away the rights of the employee or consumer to seek redress in our courts. Forced arbitration favors Big Business who gets to call the shots on where, when, how, and who decides the employee’s or consumer’s dispute. Forget about an unbiased jury or judge, discovery procedures to uncover evidence, and reasonable costs. Without passage of the Arbitration Fairness Act, Big Business gets to eliminate most employment civil rights and consumer protections. Congress must protect Americans from forced arbitration and restore Americans’ rights to seek justice in our courts with unbiased jurors, not hired arbitrators paid for by Big Business.

Please email your U.S. Senator and Representative today to urge passage of the Arbitration Fairness Act.  You may also contact Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Whistleblower Protections for Truck Drivers

Mark Napier

Big trucks, truckers, and trucking companies are subject to numerous federal and state safety regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations apply to any commercial vehicle over 10,001 lbs. engaged in interstate commerce. These same regulations, which have been adopted in Ohio and most states, are also applicable to intrastate commerce. The trucking and logistics industry is highly regulated because big truck crashes often result in fatalities or permanent, horrible injuries.

The trucking and logistics industry is also quite competitive. Any experienced trucker will verify that trucking company managers and dispatchers often pressure the trucker to get a load to a destination by a certain date and time that guarantees the trucker must violate mandated hours of service regulations and speed limits. When big trucks are traveling at an excessive speed, and with a driver who is fatigued, it’s a recipe for disaster for the trucker and other motorists.

In order to protect truckers who say no to their employers that want them to violate safety regulations, the federal law The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 was passed. Section 405 of this Act protects drivers, mechanics, freight handlers, and certain other employees in the transportation industry from retaliation from their employer when reporting safety violations.

If you as a trucker are considering reporting unsafe practices by your employer, or you have done so and have experienced retaliation, consider phoning Freking & Betz at 513-721-1975 to schedule a consultation.

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KY Residents Call Your State Rep Today to Oppose SB9

Mark Napier

On Feb. 5, the nursing home industryintroduced SB 9 in the KY Senate. The bill calls for the creation of a medical review panel system to screen proposed malpractice complaints against long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. SB 9 passed the Senate on Feb. 13 with Republicans voting for it and Democrats against it. The bill now moves to the KY House.
Instead of focusing on improving the quality of care for seniors or persons in need of long-term care, the industry is again seeking to avoid accountability. Overall, Kentucky nursing homes need much improvement. Kentucky ranks the worst in the nation in average number of deficiencies per nursing home according to the publication Nursing Home Inspect. And, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare Database, 2012, forty per cent of Kentucky nursing homes rank overall “below average” or “much below average.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal issued an editorial against SB9 (click here).   So did The Lexington Herald (click here).

If you are a Kentucky resident, please call your state representative today at 1-800-372-7181 and urge him or her to vote NO against any bill that reduces accountability for KY nursing homes. To find out who are your legislators, click here.

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One in Five Commercial Trucks Unsafe

Mark Napier

In 2012, Roadcheck inspections placed 22.4% of commercial vehicles and 3.9% of drivers out of service. This means that more than one in five trucks were taken off the road for safety violations so severe the truck and driver were not allowed to continue. This highlights the fact that despite comprehensive federal and state regulations, rogue companies and unqualified drivers still operate unsafe tractor-trailers on our highways. The 2013 Roadcheck for North America will be conducted on June 4-6, 2013.
Roadcheck is the largest commercial vehicle safety inspection program in the world, inspecting over 60,000 trucks or buses at 1,500 locations across North America during a 72 hour period.
For more information visit the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance website and its Roadcheck page.

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