The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 144 Number 17

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Scammers are at it again, pretending to be from a government agency to rip people off. Here’s what you need to know about the latest coronavirus relief fund scam. Click here for more.

General Motors recalls vehicles with seat belt issue

General Motors is recalling 624,216 vehicles. The seat belt brackets may not be secured to the seat frame in the front row center seating position.

If a seat belt bracket is not secured, the seat belt may not properly restrain an occupant, increasing the risk of injury in a crash. Click here for more.

Your Money

The thought of enjoying leisurely mornings on your back porch may be more appealing than heading to the office every day during rush hour. Many workers aim to stop working before the traditionally regarded retirement age of 65. If you step away from work sooner, such as at age 50, you'll likely have many years of freedom ahead. However, the financial logistics of early retirement aren't always straightforward. Before sending in a resignation letter, you'll want to have a clear idea of what to expect from retirement at age 50. It's also wise to think through the financial repercussions of an early retirement. Here experts weigh in with the perks and drawbacks to keep in mind when retiring at age 50. Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

Employer may not reserve the right to litigate claims against an employee in court while simultaneously seeking to restrict the employee to arbitrate her employment. The Missouri Court of Appeals considered the question of whether an arbitration agreement was enforceable. A former at-will employee sued his former employer (UniFirst) under the Missouri Human Rights Act alleging disability discrimination and retaliation claims. UniFirst moved to compel arbitration based on the arbitration clause in Caldwell’s employment contract. The district court denied UniFirst’s motion holding the arbitration clause lacked adequate consideration in two aspects: first, Caldwell’s at-will employment was insufficient consideration to support the arbitration agreement, and second, the arbitration clause lacked mutuality because UniFirst unilaterally reserved for itself the ability to assert certain claims in court against Caldwell while Caldwell was required to arbitrate all potential claims. On appeal the question of whether the arbitration agreement was supported by consideration. At the outset, the Missouri Court of Appeals (Eastern District) held that Missouri contract law principles – including consideration – govern whether an arbitration agreement is valid. Under Missouri law, a promise by one party to a contract is sufficient consideration in exchange for a promise by the other party. But when one party retains the unilateral right to sidestep its obligations, that party’s promise is considered “illusory” and thus unenforceable. Caldwell v. UniFirst Corporation, No. ED108409, (Mo. Ct. App. Oct. 27, 2020) Click here for more.

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