#WASHINGTON, D.C. – As thousands of Americans prepare to journey by train during the busy holiday travel season, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), lead sponsor of the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, led a group of fourteen senators writing Amtrak to “demand that Amtrak immediately eliminate [its] anti-consumer arbitration and class action policy.” In January, Amtrak implemented a broad new policy that not only prevents Amtrak riders, employees, and others from seeking justice in the courts, it also prohibits them from banding together in a group to seek accountability for their claims.
“We write to express our concern that Amtrak’s mandatory arbitration and class action policy is gravely imperiling traveling Americans’ access to justice and public accountability. As our national railroad, Amtrak has a responsibility to ensure the traveling public – including victims of crashes – have their day in court,” the senators wrote.
Amtrak’s new forced arbitration policy was specifically written to be “as broad as legally permissible,” and would include discrimination and any personal injury claims. In their letter, the senators raised specific concerns about the application of this policy to claims of gross negligence and wrongful death. The senators wrote: “The 2015 train derailment in Philadelphia, the 2017 derailment in Washington State, and the 2018 collision in South Carolina left hundreds injured and took the lives of 13 crewmembers and passengers. In arbitration, victims and families would have no say in what state the arbitration will occur in, the payment terms for the arbitration, and under what rules the arbitration will take place, making a tragic situation much worse.”
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