CALA Slingshots : Arbitration
Pretty Fair Shake

The June 5 Statesman editorial “Public debate needed before closing courthouse doors” gave a skewed view of arbitration. It begins with the false premise that lawyers will take any lawsuit. Fact is many legitimate employee grievances never get to court because a lawyer doesn’t feel that he or she can make enough money handling the case. And when they do take a case, the lawyer often takes a lion’s share of the winnings.

Secondly, if an employee wants a dispute decided on the facts—quickly, fairly and relatively inexpensively—why would he or she not want to be in front of a knowledgeable, neutral arbiter? Licensed arbiters are required to have a greater knowledge of the subject matter in dispute than either a judge or jury. What’s more, arbitration is a faster and less expensive means to settle a dispute.

Lastly, employees don’t have to go into a resolution hearing unarmed or unprepared. The Statesman editorial focused on the Halliburton Company and its mandatory arbitration clause. Halliburton gives their employee equal say in selecting a neutral arbiter, gives the employee a $2,500 allowance to hire an attorney to fight the company, and permits reimbursement of additional attorney fees if the employee prevails. That is a pretty fair shake.

Jon Opelt
Houston director
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

2500 City West Boulevard, Suite 300 • Houston, Texas 77042
E-mail: sosueme@ • Administrative: (713) 267-2302 • Fax: (713) 267-2267