June 28, 2011 |
Critics are apoplectic about the Supreme Court's decision last week to reject a class-action suit brought against Wal-Mart. They claim the ruling, made in a case brought by an employee named Betty Dukes and two others alleging gender discrimination, will make it more difficult to enforce civil rights protections. What's gotten lost in the debate is that all nine justices -- including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer for women's rights -- agreed that this class action went too far and jeopardized the due-process rights of millions of employees, who would have been powerless to determine their own fate if the court hadn't stepped in to protect their rights.
June 25, 2011 |
The Supreme Court, which winds up its term Monday, has once again shown itself to be highly skeptical of large lawsuits against big business, regardless of whether the suits are intended to protect workers, consumers or the environment. This year, a 5-4 conservative majority gave companies a stronger shield against class-action claims from consumers who said they were cheated and from employees who said they were victims of discrimination. The same five justices also blocked lawsuits against the makers of generic drugs for failing to warn patients of new dangers.
June 25, 2011 |
• Wal-Mart vs. Dukes: Threw out a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 1.5 million women who accused the retailer of sex discrimination. • American Electric Power vs. Connecticut: Threw out an environmental lawsuit that sought to require five major power producers to limit discharges of carbon pollution. • AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion: Held that a company's arbitration clause prevents its customers from suing in a class action for fraud. • PLIVA vs. Mensing: Ruled that makers of generic drugs cannot be sued for failing to warn patients of new dangers or side effects.
June 21, 2011
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that female employees of Wal-Mart could not band together to sue over what they said was pervasive gender discrimination by the iconic retailer. The legal issues in the case were complicated, but the central question was a simple one and the court got it wrong. As a result of the decision, serious allegations against Wal-Mart dating back a decade won't be tested in court, and similar lawsuits against other employers will never be undertaken at all. The overall decision was 9 to 0 in favor of Wal-Mart.
June 21, 2011 |
Women and minorities who think they are underpaid will find it nearly impossible to band together to sue employers for discrimination under a Supreme Court ruling against 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees in the most important job-bias case in a decade. Only if there is proof a company has a policy of paying less to women or minorities can the employees get together in a class-action suit, the court said in an opinion Monday by Justice Antonin Scalia. Statistics showing that a company's female workers earn far less and get fewer promotions than men will not suffice, the court said.
May 17, 2011
In a case that began with a disgruntled cellphone customer, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it harder for groups of consumers or employees to band together to seek damages from corporations. Because the decision involved a federal statute, not the Constitution, Congress can — and should — overrule the court. Almost a decade ago, Vincent and Liza Concepcion entered into a sales contract with AT&T Mobility that contained an arbitration clause forbidding a customer to join with others in a class-action lawsuit against the company.
May 15, 2011
A second chance Re "A life sentence of joblessness," Opinion, May 11 It's not often that an Op-Ed article haunts me throughout my day, but Gregory J. Boyle's did. Why teach former inmates to rehabilitate themselves if we won't rehabilitate our opinions of them? How can we ask them to have hope if we're going to continue to treat them as potential criminals? The young man who was fired when the employer found out about his prison record broke my heart. Maybe employers shouldn't be able to know about a person's prison record.
May 10, 2011 |
The Supreme Court's recent 5-4 decision preventing consumers from bringing class-action suits against corporations is part of a disturbing trend of the five most conservative justices closing the courthouse doors to injured individuals. This is nothing other than a conservative majority favoring the interests of businesses over consumers, employees and others suffering injuries. The case involved Vincent and Liza Concepcion, who purchased a cellphone from AT&T Mobility. The form contract they signed provided for arbitration of all disputes between the parties.
April 28, 2011 |
The Supreme Court dealt a blow to class-action lawsuits that involve small claims affecting thousands or even millions of people by ruling that corporations may use arbitration clauses to block dissatisfied consumers or disgruntled employees from joining together. In a 5-4 decision, the justices said Wednesday the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925, originally aimed at disputes over maritime and rail shipments, trumps state laws and court rulings in California and about half the states that limit arbitration clauses deemed to be "unfair" to consumers.
April 15, 2011 |
Accounting firm Ernst & Young must face a class action suit over option backdating at Broadcom Corp., a federal appeals court has ruled, saying the auditors knew or should have known about the resulting misrepresentations in the Irvine tech company's financial statements. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reinstated Ernst & Young as a defendant in the investor lawsuit, overturning a 2009 decision by U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real.