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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 2011 |
Decrying what they called an assault on higher education, thousands of faculty and students at California State University campuses across the state rallied, marched and held teach-ins Wednesday to protest steep funding cuts and rising tuition. Dubbed the Day of Class Action, events were held on all 23 Cal State campuses, featuring speakers, workshops, gospel singers, guerrilla theater and, on one campus, a New Orleans-style "funeral" march. The protests were largely peaceful and there were no reports of disruptions, although student groups staged sit-ins in hallways outside the offices of presidents Jolene Koester at Cal State Northridge and James M. Rosser at Cal State L.A. No arrests were made, and students left the buildings by the end of the day. Peaceful sit-ins were also held at campuses in Pomona, San Francisco and the East Bay. With education funding at risk and higher tuition possible in many states, students and faculty at public universities elsewhere also held rallies and teach-ins Wednesday, including at Portland State in Oregon, Rutgers University in New Jersey and the University of Massachusetts' Boston campus.
March 30, 2011 |
Supreme Court justices, sharply divided along gender lines, appeared poised to reject a nationwide class-action suit that accuses Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of sex discrimination. Led by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, the majority of men on the court questioned how Wal-Mart could be held liable for illegal sex bias when its 3,400 store managers across the nation decide who gets promoted and who receives pay raises. "It's not clear to me: What's the unlawful policy that Wal-Mart has adopted?"
March 29, 2011 |
Here's how to make a $455-million consumer class-action settlement disappear. First, require the aggrieved customers to sign and mail in a claim form comprising 10 pages of legal Esperanto before receiving any money. Make sure the customers know they're signing "under penalty of perjury. " Second, let the company keep any money that isn't paid out. At least, that's how the huge settlement reached in a case involving Farmers Insurance Group works out, in the opinion of Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog.