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How we resolve our disputes

Entries in automobile insurance (2)

Friday
Jun042010

Updates

June 1 has come and gone, and one deadline has taken effect while another has been postponed again.

  • Wisconsin’s automobile insurance requirement is now the law. However, police will refrain from issuing tickets to uninsured drivers for at least the first month. Instead, the police will give drivers 30 to 60 days to get insurance and show proof of it.
  • Meanwhile, the FTC has once again postponed its identity theft “red flag” rules while it, or Congress, tries to figure out who to exempt from the requirement.

On the topic of arbitration and class actions, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has clarified how it will decide whether an arbitration clause is unconscionable, especially in Consumer Act cases.  In a case that was poorly briefed and argued by both sides, the court remanded for further findings on the issues of substantive and procedural unconscionability. 

In federal court, the 7th Circuit has put aside its usual antipathy towards class actions and affirmed class certification in a consumer fraud case, at least on the issue of liability. 

Monday
May242010

Deadlines

June 1 marks two legal deadlines in Wisconsin.  First, automobile liability insurance will be mandatory.  You can no longer drive a car without it.  That makes Wisconsin the 49th state to require it.  Why have I not heard anyone say that it is unconstitutional for the government to require people to buy this private product or service?  Does that argument apply only to health insurance?  Or to the federal government and not to the states?  Does it make a difference that a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right?  Is health care a right or merely a privilege?  In fact, without tax credits and a safety net for the poor, elderly and disabled, the automobile insurance requirement is the more onerous of the two.  I hope someone can explain to me why so many people are complaining about the health insurance requirement while no one seems to be complaining about the automobile insurance requirement. 

Secondly, June 1 is the deadline for businesses to implement identity theft “red flag” rules in order to comply with FTC rules regarding creditors.  Any business that allows customers or clients to defer payments for goods or services is a creditor.  In other words, any firm that sells on credit or bills for its services—except for law firms, according to a U.S. District Court ruling, which is on appeal to the D.C. Circuit—is a creditor. 

Such deadlines are useful.  They force the issue and ultimately result in a resolution one way or the other.  Anyone who has been procrastinating now has to either comply or object.  The FTC deadline has been extended several times but nothing has been resolved.  Congress has not exempted anyone, and except for law firms, neither have the courts.  Fortunately, the FTC has user-friendly, do-it-yourself online tools that make compliance fairly easy for small businesses and those who only occasionally sell on credit.  For anyone who continues to procrastinate, I recommend listening to the Lovin’ Spoonfuls “Did you ever have to make up your mind?”