Outsourcing Justice

French Fries

The image of the french fry carton from this blog is the same image appearing on the front cover of my book, Outsourcing Justice: The Rise of Modern Arbitration Laws in America.   I chose this image because in the book’s introduction, I describe how several industries are using arbitration clauses today, including the fast food industry. A federal court compelled a person to arbitrate a dispute with McDonald’s because of language appearing on the back of a carton of french fries purchased at a drive-thru.  Also, a fast food restaurant in Texas posted an arbitration notice on its front door, and according to the sign, anyone who enters the restaurant agrees to arbitrate any dispute with the restaurant.  I recently interviewed an in-house counsel for a major fast food restaurant who told me they considered placing arbitration clauses on their napkins and disposable cups!

On the above images of french fry cartons, and on the front cover of my book, there is a tiny arbitration clause at the bottom of the carton (which may be too difficult to see on this website unless you enlarge the picture.)   These uses of arbitration are problematic in light of the history set forth in my book.  After introducing the current uses of arbitration in the first chapter of my book, the rest of my book focuses on the history of modern arbitration laws and discusses never-before-seen archival material regarding the Federal Arbitration Act.  This juxtaposition of the modern uses of arbitration and the history can be very jarring.