The dedication page of this book says: “For the millions of Americans who are unjustly bound by an arbitration agreement.” It basically tells readers what the book is all about, or at least what it’s not about.
It’s obvious that this book will not talk about the advantages and benefits of arbitration. However, advocates, users, and students of arbitration would be compelled to read this book to find out what the author thinks is wrong with arbitration, as his dedication seems to imply.
Imre Szalai, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, begins his book with the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, a civilian contractor for a subsidiary of Halliburton Company. Jamie, a victim of sexual assault while working in Iraq, tried to file a lawsuit against Halliburton. After two years of wrangling in court, the federal court ordered Jamie to submit some of her claims to arbitration in accordance with her employment contract, which contained an arbitration agreement.
Szalai noted that the federal court, in enforcing Jamie’s contract with Halliburton, relied on the Federal Arbitration Act, which became law in 1925. “The law was never intended to apply in the employment context, and courts in the United States have repeatedly and grossly misinterpreted this law,” writes Szalai. Using historical sources not cited previously in other books, the author devotes the rest of the book to support his abovementioned statement.