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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

The Use and Abuse of Arbitration Clauses in Contracts

Wilbur C. Leatherberry, J.D. - Professor Emeritus of Law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Spencer Neth, J.D. - Professor Emeritus of Law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Friday January 22, 2016
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Enforcing laws is only one part of the function of courts. Another is to settle disputes between private parties. King Solomon was acting as a court when two harlots disputed custody of a baby. At present litigants turn to courts, for example, on liability issues. Yet American courts, with their rigid procedures and adversarial decision process, might not be the best ways to settle disputes. This has led to increasing interest in and use of "alternative dispute resolution" processes, especially forms of arbitration.

But in November, the New York Times ran a powerful series of articles on "Arbitration Everywhere: Stacking the Deck of Justice." Its reporting argued that corporations have used arbitration requirements in contracts to make it nearly impossible for employees or customers to be protected from exploitation. It argued especially that aggrieved parties simply don't have the resources (with class actions banned) to challenge corporations, while arbitrators systematically favor corporations.

How serious are these problems, and what could be done about them? We are fortunate to have in our community two leading experts on dispute resolution, to lead the discussion.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guests

Before joining the faculty in 1973 at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Wilbur Leatherberry, J.D. spent three years as a Legal Aid attorney and two years as a legislative assistant to Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes. He served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1992 to 2000. He taught contracts, dispute resolution, insurance, sales, and secured transactions. Professor Leatherberry has been active in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution and helped to design the ADR program for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. He frequently serves as a neutral in mediation or arbitration processes, both private and court-annexed. In addition, he conducts ADR training programs both for neutrals and advocates.

Spencer Neth, J.D. joined the faculty in 1970 at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law after four years of practice in Boston. He taught contracts and courses in commercial law, products liability, and dispute resolution. After spending a semester at Stanford University as an IBM Law and Computer Fellow, he founded and chaired the AALS Section on Law and Computers, and he was partly responsible for this law school's pioneering installation of LEXIS and the incorporation of computerized research into the curriculum.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Our programs are open to all and no registration is required. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Provisional Schedule of Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

We have a provisional, almost-complete schedule for this semester's discussions. Please check each week's newsletter or the website to confirm the topic and speaker. Every semester there is at least one change.

January 29: What Should Be Expected of Accountable Care Organizations? With Elizabeth R. Hammack Esq., Associate General Counsel, University Hospitals Health System.

February 5: China’s One Child Policy. With Lihong Shi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University.

February 12: Let's Talk About Lincoln. With Joseph White, Ph.D., Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy at Case Western Reserve University.

February 19: Criminal Justice Reform in Cuyahoga County. With Lewis R. Katz, John C. Hutchins, J.D., Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University.

February 26: Update on the Presidential Campaign. With Justin Buchler, Associate Professor of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University. ***Alternate Location: Kelvin Smith Library, Room LL06***

March 4: Why Is There a Heroin Epidemic? With Lee Hoffer, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University.

March 11: Spring Break

March 18: E-Cigarettes: Problem or Solution? With Scott H. Frank MD MS, Associate Professor and Director, Master of Public Health Program, and Director of Health for the City of Shaker Heights.

March 25: Hosting the Super B**l of Politics. With Brittany Williams, Senior Project Manager, Cleveland 2016 Host Committee.

April 1: TBA

April 8: TBA

April 15: Money, Happiness, and Redistribution. With David Clingingsmith, Associate Professor of Economics. ***Alternate Location: Baker-Nord Center, Room 206, Clark Hall***

April 22: Germany, Asylum and the Future of Europe. With Kenneth F. Ledford, Associate Professor of History and Law and Chair, Department of History at Case Western Reserve University.
January 18, 2016

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Upcoming Events

Between the Lines

Wednesday January 20, 2016, 7:00 p.m., Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern, 11625 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Happy Dog and the East Cleveland Public Library.

Case Western Reserve University Professor Michael W. Clune will read from Gamelife: A Memoir, discuss the inspiration behind his work, and engage in a lively Q&A with a moderator and the audience. Gamelife is the memoir of a childhood transformed by technology. Afternoons spent gazing at pixelated maps and mazes train Michael's eyes for the uncanny side of 1980s suburban Illinois. A game about pirates yields clues to the drama of cafeteria politics and locker-room hazing. And in the year of his parents' divorce, a spaceflight simulator opens a hole in reality.

Michael W. Clune is the critically acclaimed author of the memoirs Gamelife and White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin. His academic books include Writing Against Time and American Literature and the Free Market. Clune’s work has appeared in venues ranging from Harper’s, Salon, and Granta, to Behavioral and Brain Sciences, PMLA, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is a Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University and lives in Shaker Heights.

Edge of Disaster–Vaccines and Epidemics

Thursday January 21, 2016, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Clark Hall Room 206, 11130 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Co-sponsored by the Dittrick Medical History Museum and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University.

The recent outbreak of Ebola in parts of Africa–and the frightened posts and live-tweets that accompanied two infected health workers as they returned to the US–give us a glimpse not only of an epidemic’s power but of our private terrors. Self-preservation, fear of the unknown, and a desire to protect the boundaries of nations, persons, bodies and cells brings out the best and worst in us. History provides both sides; the uninfected locked up with the infected in 14th century plague houses, left to starve and suffer in the dark–or doctors like Cleveland’s Horace Ackley, who personally combated and contained an outbreak of Asiatic cholera in Sandusky in 1849. What finally stopped deadly scourges like smallpox, which brought Cleveland to its knees in 1903, or Diphtheria, once a death sentence for young children, or even Polio, the great crippler? Vaccines. And yet, vaccines remain a hotly debated topic even today. What motivates people to vaccinate–or not? How prepared are we for the next “disaster”? And what can history tell us about the fight to end outbreak?

Brandy Schillace, Dittrick Research Associate, author and recent TEDx speaker will present a short historical talk about vaccines and epidemics (then and now), followed by a discussion with W. Henry Boom, MD, Professor, Vice Chair for Research, CWRU Department of Medicine and Director, Tuberculosis Research Unit, and Andrew Heffron, RN, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and an open dialogue for and by the public.

January 2016







































About the Friday Lunch Newsletter

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