This article focuses on small claims arbitration and examines the impact of AT&T Mobility on the legitimacy of the process. Part II of the article describes the Supreme Court’s AT&T Mobility decision, which held that the FAA preempts a California rule that declared a class arbitration waiver in a consumer contract unconscionable. Part III describes the primary features of the two options remaining for the Concepcions—small claims court and small claims arbitration, as well as their perceived advantages and disadvantages. Part IV demonstrates that courts have endorsed simplified arbitration. Part V examines whether simplified arbitration is a fair method of resolving small arbitration claims. Part VI explores other dispute resolution models for resolving small dollar value commercial disputes, including on-line dispute resolution, telephonic arbitration, and a small claims arbitrator. Part VII concludes by urging dispute system designers to consider changing the default mechanism of arbitrating small claims cases from paper or “desk” arbitration to a live hearing before a small claims arbitrator.
Jill I. Gross, AT&T Mobility and the Future of Small Claims Arbitration, 42 Sw. L. Rev. 47 (2013), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/880/.