Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Those who make peaceful reimbursement impossible

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2011

Via ql at Atrios’s dive, KTUU-TV (MSNBC) reports that:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court gave corporations a major win Wednesday, ruling in a 5-4 decision that companies can block their disgruntled customers from joining together in a class-action lawsuit. The ruling arose from a California lawsuit involving cellphones, but it will have a nationwide impact.

In the past, consumers who bought a product or a service had been free to join a class-action lawsuit if they were dissatisfied or felt they had been cheated. By combining these small claims, they could bring a major lawsuit against a corporation.

But in Wednesday’s decision, the high court said that under the Federal Arbitration Act companies can force these disgruntled customers to arbitrate their complaints individually, not as part of a group. Consumer-rights advocates said this rule would spell the end for small claims involving products or services.

Breyer [dissenting] added that a ban on class actions would prevent lawyers from representing clients for small claims. “What rational lawyer would have signed on to represent the Concepcions in litigation for the possibility of fees stemming from a $30.22 claim?” he wrote. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined his dissent.

So, if companies cheat their customers for less than about $50,000 each (the approximate sum at issue that it takes to get a lawyer to represent you), no law applies and they’re home free. What do consumers have left to defend themselves? The five Justices who delivered this monstrosity are nothing better than criminals in black robes.

One Response to “Those who make peaceful reimbursement impossible”

  1. jo6pac said

    Yep, I’m just getting back shelling fava beans to this news, it looks like I already need a bigger garden. bushs supremes just keep giving Main Street away. I’m sure congress will step in and help us, right;)

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