February 6, 2023

Ford believes that arbitration is a better way to resolve disputes. Resolution of claims “should be fair, expeditious, efficient and proportionate to the dispute,” Ford spokesman Ian Thibodeau said in an email. “Arbitration often achieves these goals more quickly and efficiently than the court system.”

In another recent case, though, a federal judge in Illinois denied Subaru’s motion to arbitrate owners who signed an arbitration agreement with a dealership. The owner claims her privacy has been violated by Subaru technology designed to tell if a driver is paying attention. The judge ruled that the agreement between the dealer and the buyer did not apply to the dispute with the manufacturer.

Lawyers say Tesla stands out in many industries because of its direct sales model.

“Tesla seems to be unique among auto companies in that they use an arbitration clause to avoid liability in court,” said Donald Slavik, an attorney for Derrick Monet on I-70 in Indiana .

Mr Monet, who was seriously injured, filed a lawsuit blaming the accident on Tesla’s Autopilot system, which steers, brakes and accelerates the car on its own. Tesla, which is fighting the lawsuit, has not attempted to force the case to arbitration. The company insists that Autopilot improves car safety.

Kristin Hull, chief executive of investment firm Nia Impact Capital, has urged Tesla to drop mandatory arbitration for employees, arguing that it glosses over problems investors should know. In August, nearly 40% of shareholders supported a resolution proposed by Nia that would have directed Tesla to study whether forced arbitration would affect employees’ ability to seek redress for discrimination or other complaints.

“As investors, we don’t have any insight into company culture and what’s going on,” Dr. Hull said. “Managers don’t need to be held accountable.”

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