Now it’s Amazon that is deciding to run away from arbitration:
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One of our updates involves how disputes are resolved between you and Amazon. Previously, our Conditions of Use set out an arbitration process for those disputes. Our updated Conditions of Use provides for dispute resolution by the courts.
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There are several reasons for this. One, of course, is the fact that the companies now know that arbitration can cost them tens of millions of dollars even when the arbitration companies and the arbitrators are bending over backward for them and breaking both the arbitration rules and the law in their favor. Even when they win, the state courts won’t uphold their awards because awards against consumers are egregious violations of the California law where most of them are headquartered.
The second is that California is tightening its grip on the arbitration companies. The arbitration companies keep trying to worm around the law, so the legislature keeps passing new and more rigorous laws, such as SB 762, which has been passed due to the way JAMS has repeatedly tried to wiggle around the requirements of the previous year’s SB 707. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the California legislature eventually strips the arbitration companies of the legal immunity that the courts have conveyed upon them through case law.
But the third and most important reason is that the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit in New York recently agreed to review a lower court’s ruling that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects big tech companies from civil rights liability. The big tech companies lean very, very heavily on this ruling, and it’s probably not going to hold up to the Appeals Court review, being a very stupid ruling that has permitted the tech companies to play editor without being liable for an editor’s responsibilities.
The case of Domen v. Vimeo came about after Vimeo, an Internet video-hosting company, terminated Church United’s video streaming activities after it featured videos of five men and women who left the gay lifestyle to pursue their Christian faith. Vimeo claimed that its terms of service bar streaming videos that promote sexual orientation change therapy. Church United is led by Pastor Jim Domen.
A federal district court had previously held that Section 230 exempted firms such as Vimeo from civil liability and a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling.
However, as a result of the July 16 decision, the panel’s ruling will be reheard before the entire Second Circuit. The Second Circuit covers six federal district courts in three states, including New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.
“This ruling puts Section 230 immunity in the crosshairs of judicial review. We suspect that the en banc court recognizes that Big Tech is not exempt from state and federal civil rights laws,” said attorney Robert Tyler, general counsel for the California-based Advocates for Faith & Freedom. His law firm, Tyler & Bursch, represents Pastor Jim Domen and the California-based Church United nonprofit.