US Supreme Court Blocks Consumer Access to Courts

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Offline Satyagraha

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US Supreme Court Blocks Consumer Access to Courts
« on: April 28, 2011, 09:08:20 AM »
http://www.latimes.com/business/sc-dc-0428-court-class-action-web-20110427,0,1239412.story

Companies can block customers' class-action lawsuits, Supreme Court rules

Consumers have been able to band together to sue corporations, but the Supreme Court rules in a Southern California case that firms can force customers to arbitrate their complaints individually. The ruling is seen as a major victory for corporations.


By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau

April 27, 2011, 8:37 a.m.
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.

In the case before the court, a Southern California couple complained about a $30 charge involving their purchase of cellphone service from AT&T Mobility. The California courts said they were entitled to join with others in bringing a class-action claim against the cellphone company.

But the Supreme Court reversed that decision Wednesday in AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion. Justice Antonin Scalia said companies may require buyers to sign arbitration agreements, and those agreements may preclude class-action claims. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. formed the majority.

Scalia said companies like arbitration because it is efficient and less costly. "Arbitration is poorly suited to the higher stakes of class litigation," he said.

But the dissenters said a practical ban on class action would be unfair to cheated consumers. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the California courts had insisted on permitting class-action claims, despite arbitration clauses that forbade them. Otherwise, he said, it would allow a company to "insulate" itself "from liability for its own frauds by deliberately cheating large numbers of consumers out of individually small sums of money."

Breyer 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.

The court itself divided along partisan lines. All five Republican appointes formed the majority, and four Democratic appointees dissented.

Still pending before the court is a major dispute over class-action suits involving job discrimination. Lawyers for Wal-Mart have asked the justices to throw out a sex-discrimination claim brought on behalf of 1.5 million current and past female employees.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

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Offline bigron

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Re: SCOTUS destroys strength in numbers afforded by Class Action Lawsuits
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 10:23:51 AM »
WHAT AN AWFUL PRECEDENT !!!

Offline Dig

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Re: SCOTUS destroys strength in numbers afforded by Class Action Lawsuits
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 12:00:05 PM »
Elena Kagasn joined the dissent?

This ruling is 100% bulshit, they may as well say corporation can delay lawsuits until you die. It is against the constitution for the federal government to limit the inalienable rights of the individual. SCOTUS has no authority whatsoever anywhere near this case. I would love to see the entire dissent.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline jofortruth

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Don't believe me. Look it up yourself!

Offline bigron

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Re: SCOTUS destroys strength in numbers afforded by Class Action Lawsuits
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 04:45:07 PM »


Supreme Court rules that companies can block class-action lawsuits
By Reuters


April 28, 2011 @ 9:19 am
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/28/supreme-court-rules-that-companies-can-block-class-action-lawsuits/


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday handed businesses such as AT&T Inc a major victory by upholding the use of arbitration for customer disputes rather than allowing claims to be brought together as a group.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that an AT&T unit could enforce a provision in its customer contracts requiring individual arbitration and preventing the pooling together of claims into a class-action lawsuit or class-wide arbitration.

The plaintiffs, Vincent and Liza Concepcion, filed their class-action lawsuit in 2006, claiming they were improperly charged about $30 in sales taxes on cellphones that the AT&T Mobility wireless unit had advertised as free.

AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, was backed in the case by a number of other companies and by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group, while consumer and civil rights groups supported the California couple.

Companies generally prefer arbitration as a less expensive way of settling consumer disputes, as opposed to costly class actions, which allow customers to band together and can result in large monetary awards.

Customer arbitration agreements are widely used by cellphone carriers, cable providers, credit card companies, stock brokerage firms and other businesses.

Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick said it may be the most important class action case ever decided by the Supreme Court.

"Because companies can ask all of their consumers, employees, and perhaps even shareholders to sign arbitration agreements, this decision has the potential to permit companies to escape class action liability in almost all of their activities," he said.

Shares of AT&T closed up 1.55 percent at $31.42 on the New York Stock Exchange.

AT&T DEFENDS ARBITRATION AS FAIR

AT&T praised the ruling, saying the Supreme Court recognized that arbitration often benefits consumers. "We value our customers, and AT&T's arbitration program is free, fair, fast, easy to use, and consumer-friendly," the company said.

AT&T said its arbitration agreements required it to pay at least $7,500 if the arbitrator awarded more than the company's final settlement offer and to pay all arbitration costs for nonfrivolous claims.

Deepak Gupta, an attorney at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen who represented the couple, denounced the decision and said class actions had been an essential tool to achieve justice in U.S. society.

"The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a crushing blow to American consumers and employees, ruling that companies can ban class actions in the fine print of contracts," he said.

AT&T had argued that a federal law that encourages the use of arbitration, the Federal Arbitration Act, trumped a California consumer protection law at issue in the case.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court's conservative majority agreed.

"The California law in question stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the purposes and the objectives of the FAA. It is accordingly preempted," Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority in reading his opinion from the bench.

Scalia cited a federal judge's conclusion in the case that the couple was better off under the AT&T arbitration agreement than under a class action, which could take months or years and could result in their winning just a small amount of money.

The ruling, which reversed a decision by a U.S. appeals court in California, was the latest in a series by the Supreme Court in recent years that generally favored arbitration.

The court's four liberal justices dissented. "The Court is wrong to hold that the federal act preempts the rule of state law," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in dissent.

The Supreme Court case is AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, No. 09-893.

(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Gary Hill)


MUCH MORE

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/28/supreme-court-rules-that-companies-can-block-class-action-lawsuits/



Offline Dig

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The Bailout of ATT: It's Only A Matter Of Time, And A 28 Billion Dollar Shortfall
http://mainstreetmattersmore.blogspot.com/2011/01/bailout-of-att-its-only-matter-of-time.html
Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jesse's site always includes articles of interest on the left side, for the brave of heart.  When OS is feeling brave, he reads one. This one, about ATT's creative accounting methods to avoid having to tell shareholders the ugly truth of its pension obligations, makes for interesting reading.  When things get too ugly, let's just pretend all those pending losses actually occurred in the past. Stuff the future down the Memory Hole. But, in the end, the reality remains:

The accounting change does not affect AT&T's cash flow or pension funding requirements. Its pension and post-retirement benefit obligations totalled $87 billion at the end of 2009, the latest figure reported. The plan assets are $28.7 billion less. "The underlying economics of AT&T's underfunded post-retirement liabilities remains unchanged, and is a significant drag on value when appropriately accounted for," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett.

Well, yes, in matter of fact, these things do matter. Pretty audacious, is it not? OS thinks that they are playing 'chicken' with the culture. After all, they're imbedded in all fifty states, have a huge employee base (much of it unionized), and T sits in pension funds from sea to shining sea. So, when things melt down (not if, when), we'll see T execs in front of Congress and every state legislature, demanding cash and/or tax rebates and breaks forever, lest T collapse, taking all those employees, customers and pension funds down with it. Or Da Fed will declare it a bank, and the cash pipe will be opened.  Wait for it. It's coming.  This is not a rant about accounting. It is a rant about a business culture that has decided that reality is for suckers. Why anyone's pension plan carries one share of T, following this announcement, will be a mystery.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Guess what else...ATT is a de facto government agency...therefore the SCOTUS just ruled against the 1st amendment of a right to petition for redress as well as all other rights ATT tramples on every 7 seconds of tracking their users.

This ruling is against the constitution and for the SCOTUS to rule against the constitution, they effectively dissolve their very existence. It is the constitution which creates SCOTUS in the first place. This is total horseshit and they know it. Looks like they want to keep lying to the public until their Air Force Magic Dust arrives...

Air Force: We want drones that drop "tracking dust"

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/04/crop-duster-drones/

On Tuesday, the Air Force issued a call for help making a miniature drone that could covertly
drop a mysterious and unspecified tracking “dust” onto people, allowing them to be tracked
from a distance. The proposal says its useful for all kinds of random things, from identifying
friendly forces and civilians to tracking wildlife. But the motive behind a covert drone tagger likely
has less to do with sneaking up on spotted owls and more to do with painting a target on the
backs of tomorrow’s terrorists.

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline jofortruth

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AND GUESS WHO THE 5 JUSTICES WERE WHO VOTED FOR THIS ONE? REPUBLICAN CONVERVATIVES!  5 - 4. THIS TIME WE WERE SCREWED BY THE SO CALLED CONSERVATIVES ON THE COURT:

Court Opinion:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-893.pdf

SCALIA
THOMAS
ROBERTS
KENNEDY
ALITO


DO YOU SEE FOLKS, HOW WE ARE BEING SCREWED BY BOTH PARTIES - DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS? THEY JUST KEEP TAKING TURNS SCREWING US!
Don't believe me. Look it up yourself!

Offline TahoeBlue

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Guess what else...ATT is a de facto government agency...therefore the SCOTUS just ruled against the 1st amendment of a right to petition for redress as well as all other rights ATT tramples on every 7 seconds of tracking their users.
...

related: Rampant Corporatism (Fascism Italian style Shhhh... Mussolini would be proud)


AT&T buyout of T-Mobile (Deutsche Telekom AG - USA )

No this is not monopoly..... move along....
Notice that T-Mobile is really: Deutsche Telekom AG  
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole ; He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. - Job 5

Offline bigron

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Supreme Court Lets Corporations Ban Class Actions

by Stephen Lendman

April 28, 2011

http://uruknet.com/?p=m77232&hd=&size=1&l=e

An earlier article discussed hurdles ordinary people face before America's High Court, accessed through the following link:
http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/07/supreme-court-inc-supr
emely-pro.html

Saying pro-business rulings aren't new, it suggested the most damaging one occurred in 1886. In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railway, the High Court granted corporations legal personhood. Ever since, they've had the same rights as people without the responsibilities. Their limited liability status exempts them.

As a result, they've profited hugely and continue winning favorable rulings. Today more than ever from the Roberts Court, one observer calling its first full (2006-07) term a "blockbuster" with the Court's conservative wing prevailing most often.

Through today, it's been much the same, notably in its January 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, ruling government can't limit corporate political election spending as doing it violates their First Amendment freedoms. Writing for the 5 - 4 majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy called it legal "political speech," effectively putting a price tag on democracy.

The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990), restricting corporate political spending because their resources unfairly influence electoral politics, and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003), upholding part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (the McCain-Feingold Act), restricting corporate and union campaign spending.

Citizen's United set a precedent, but does it matter given the power of big money and past failures to curb it, Professor John Kozy saying at the time:

"Expecting the Congress, most if not all of whose members reside deep in corporate pockets, to eliminate that influence can be likened to expecting the rhinovirus to eliminate the common cold. Corporate money (in large or smaller amounts) is the diseased life-blood of American politics; it carries its cancerous spores to all extremities."

Kozy also cited Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' Lochner dissent, saying "the Court has taken its task to be the constitutionalization of a totally immoral, rapacious, economic system instead of the promotion of justice, domestic tranquility, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty."

Of course, the same judgment applies throughout Court history with past civil libertarians far outnumbered by established order supporters and big money interests that run it. As a result, for every William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall there have been dozens of John Jays (the first chief justice), Roger Taneys, William Howard Tafts, Scalias, Burgers, Rehnquists, and Roberts.

It's why Michael Parenti calls the Supreme Court America's "autocratic branch" of government, affirmed shamelessly in its April 27 AT&T v. Conception decision, accessed through the following link:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-893.pdf

America's Supremes Deny Class Action Redress

After the ruling, Dow Jones Newswires Brent Kendall headlined, "US Supreme Court Blocks Class Action Against AT&T Unit," saying:

The Court blocked "a class action lawsuit alleging AT&T Inc. (T) wireless subsidiary acted fraudulently by charging sales tax on cellphones that it advertised as free. The case was considered a test of the enforceability of arbitration agreements that bar individuals from pooling their claims together in a class action."

Earlier, two California federal courts ruled that AT&T Mobility's wireless contract arbitration agreement was not enforceable because it blocked class actions. On April 27, the Supreme Court overturned them. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said permitting group suits runs afoul of federal law promoting arbitration.

Dissenting, Justice Stephen Breyer said requiring consumers to arbitrate individually forces them to abandon small claims, too costly to litigate.

The case involved Vincent and Liza Concepcion's complaint about the $30.22 sales tax on AT&T's cellphone promoted as free. As a result, Breyer added:

"What rational lawyer would have signed on to represent (them) in litigation for the possibility of fees stemming from" an amount that small, effectively shutting them out entirely from judicial redress.

Still pending before the court is the largest class action in US history - Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. It involves sexual job discrimination, claiming the company violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by denying women equal promotion opportunities as men.

Wal-Mart lawyers now want the case dismissed on behalf of 1.5 million current and past female employees. Doing so, however, will be a crushing blow to aggrieved company employees and millions of others henceforth for redress it appears the ruling now denies.

Public citizen attorney Deepak Gupta represented the Concepcions before the High Court. After the decision he said:

"This morning, the US Supreme Court dealt a crushing blow to American consumers and employees, ruling that companies can ban class actions in the fine print of contracts."

So whenever you "sign a contract" for a cell phone, bank account, credit card, employment, or other purpose, "you may be giving up your right to hold companies accountable for fraud, discrimination or other illegal practices."

In its latest unprincipled decision, the Court ruled 5 - 4 that corporations may use arbitration clauses to prevent consumers and employees from using class actions to hold them accountable, requiring individual litigation instead.

In fact, class actions, like Brown v. Board of Education, are an essential litigation tool. Their fate shouldn't be decided by corporate fine print "take-it-or-leave-it contracts" only lawyers understand.

The 1925 Federal Arbitration Act facilitated private arbitration settlements in state and federal courts, applicable to interstate commerce transactions under the Constitution's Commerce Clause. Henceforth, it will shield corporations from accountability, making it harder for people to litigate "civil rights, labor, consumer, and other (type) claims," resulting from corporate wrongdoing by "join(ing) together to obtain their rightful compensation."

As a result, says Gupta, it's essential for Congress to enact legislation "ending forced arbitration in consumer and employment contracts," but expect no redress from a Republican controlled House and a pro-business president claiming populist credentials.

As a result, expect CEO's from AT&T, Wal-Mart and other corporate predators to sleep comfortably henceforth, knowing America's High Court backs their right rip off consumers and employees with impunity.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-
hour/

http://uruknet.com/?p=m77232&hd=&size=1&l=e






 

Offline larsonstdoc

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The Anti-American People Supreme Court Limits Class Action Lawsuits
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2011, 09:40:05 AM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110427/ap_on_re_us/us_supreme_court_class_actions


WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Wednesday limited the ability of people to combine forces and fight corporations together when they want to dispute contracts for cell phones, cable television and other services, a move consumer advocates called a crushing blow.
In a 5-4 ideological split, the high court's conservatives said businesses can block their customers from using class actions. The court said the federal arbitration law trumps state laws that invalidate contracts banning class actions.
The decision came in a dispute between AT&T Mobility and a California couple who objected to being charged around $30 in sales tax for what they were told was a free cell phone.
I'M A DEPLORABLE KNUCKLEHEAD THAT SUPPORTS PRESIDENT TRUMP.  MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND KEEP HIM SAFE.

Offline heavyhebrew

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The question remains: what are we going to do about it?
We work jobs we hate to pay for stuff we don't need to impress people we don't like. Am I the crazy one here?

Offline Kilika

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Quote
The Supreme Court on Wednesday limited the ability of people to combine forces and fight corporations together when they want to dispute contracts for cell phones, cable television and other services,

Yes, that's what they did. They didn't ban anything.

I don't agree at all with the ruling and do feel it unconstitutional, but people need to understand based on truth of law, in that it wasn't a ban ruling, but rather the point was based on contracts that have an arbitration clause, which I have no doubt already exists in their contracts. Like it was pointed out in one of the articles above, California was allowing class actions even though there existed an arbitration clause.

I think legally a person or person's have the right to petition the court for a redress. However, a company should have the right to offer contracts with stipulations. We don't want the government telling us how to run business, that would be bad, even though it's happening anyway.

That said, the customer still should not be forced into arbitration, as it's forcing people to give up their rights in court, and that's wrong and the company lawyers know it. Arbitration should be an option offered to customers when they sign a contract, but it should not be required for approval of the contract.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:10 (KJB)

Offline Dig

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Yes, that's what they did. They didn't ban anything.

I don't agree at all with the ruling and do feel it unconstitutional, but people need to understand based on truth of law, in that it wasn't a ban ruling, but rather the point was based on contracts that have an arbitration clause, which I have no doubt already exists in their contracts. Like it was pointed out in one of the articles above, California was allowing class actions even though there existed an arbitration clause.

I think legally a person or person's have the right to petition the court for a redress. However, a company should have the right to offer contracts with stipulations. We don't want the government telling us how to run business, that would be bad, even though it's happening anyway.

That said, the customer still should not be forced into arbitration, as it's forcing people to give up their rights in court, and that's wrong and the company lawyers know it. Arbitration should be an option offered to customers when they sign a contract, but it should not be required for approval of the contract.

This is a bullshit case, SCOTUS is denying the state the power to limit corporate power via their juristiction over contract law. Simple as that. SCOTUS has no juristiction over this. The states have the right to interpret contract law outside the bounds of the constitution (which this is). 10th amendment is very clear on this. If the corporation does not like the way the state is interpreting contract law, they can stop doing business in that state. The states are the sovereigns, not SCOTUS. Not only that, but the individuals are the sovereigns over the state. The corporation has absolutely zero power when it comes to such matters as it should be. They have zero protection under the constitution and always are required to satidfy their customers (the human beings) to run a successful company. The reverse has been narrated to us for over 100 years, that we need to be abused by the corporations. This is exactly why we had a revolution in 1776 against the East India Trading Company. EITC is still the top tier of every chartered corporation in existence today. They have zero power under the constitution and when SCOTUS rules in the EITC's favor, they pervert the entire foundation of the founding documents and in essence the united States.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Kilika

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This is a bullshit case, SCOTUS is denying the state the power to limit corporate power via their juristiction over contract law. Simple as that. SCOTUS has no juristiction over this. The states have the right to interpret contract law outside the bounds of the constitution (which this is). 10th amendment is very clear on this. If the corporation does not like the way the state is interpreting contract law, they can stop doing business in that state. The states are the sovereigns, not SCOTUS.

Agreed. By their ruling, it might be consider meddling in state affairs, but they do have a say in the matter, as they are the last legal stop in the land. In this case, they ruled completely wrong, and the wrong is making it so citizens lose their right of redress in a court of law. That should never be taken or prevented by a court.

This case is a tricky one, and what they actually ruled on needs to be looked at closely, because it's not what it initially appears to be. This is a case about citizens losing their rights to protect themselves from companies. The state issue is secondary at best. Regardless of what the state does towards the company, the customer should retain the right to pursue legal action in a court of law, period. The key is companies making contracts in such a way that puts customers at an unfair legal advantage, and then they are being forced to not seek legal recourse? Uh, no. That should not happen.

This is a cost-cutting measure by companies, that's all it is. They want to be in full control, with the customer at their mercy with nowhere to turn but the company. And now we have the court trying to tell us we have no where to turn but the company for resolving a dispute.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:10 (KJB)

Offline Dig

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Agreed. By their ruling, it might be consider meddling in state affairs, but they do have a say in the matter, as they are the last legal stop in the land. In this case, they ruled completely wrong, and the wrong is making it so citizens lose their right of redress in a court of law. That should never be taken or prevented by a court.

This case is a tricky one, and what they actually ruled on needs to be looked at closely, because it's not what it initially appears to be. This is a case about citizens losing their rights to protect themselves from companies. The state issue is secondary at best. Regardless of what the state does towards the company, the customer should retain the right to pursue legal action in a court of law, period. The key is companies making contracts in such a way that puts customers at an unfair legal advantage, and then they are being forced to not seek legal recourse? Uh, no. That should not happen.

This is a cost-cutting measure by companies, that's all it is. They want to be in full control, with the customer at their mercy with nowhere to turn but the company. And now we have the court trying to tell us we have no where to turn but the company for resolving a dispute.

One point I do agree with you on is that the Bilderberg media is making it look like there is no longer a such thiung as a class action lawsuit. Although lawfirms will need to re-evaluate their procedural methods, the media hype is being used to put us all in a state of zombiefied apathy.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Kilika

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Exactly, they want the customers to think they have no legal recourse other than arbitration. All customers have to do is not accept an arbitration clause, so that means there should be full disclosure to the customer if such a clause exists in case the customer decides they want to retain their right to seek counsel and go to court.

I think the class action part is just a sideshow, because one can still pursue action in court outside of class action, unless they are held to anti-arbitration clauses in their contracts. Then there's a problem.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:10 (KJB)

Offline Monkeypox

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It was bad enough when corporations had the same legal rights as citizens.  But now they seem to have MORE rights.

 >:(

It's interesting how so many science fiction books and movies of the last 50-60 years predicted a world in which corporations would rule.  I guess the path we were on was obvious.
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Offline TahoeBlue

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It was bad enough when corporations had the same legal rights as citizens.  But now they seem to have MORE rights.  >:(  

Now your getting it! ( where the sun don't shine)
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole ; He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. - Job 5

Offline John_Back_From_The_Club_O

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US Supreme Court Blocks Consumer Access to Courts
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2011, 11:49:20 PM »
From an email to me.

US Supreme Court Blocks Consumer Access to Courts
Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 02:04 PM PDT

Today the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, issued an incredibly disturbing opinion for United States consumers (i.e. all of us). In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion the Court held that corporations can ban consumers' rights to take corporations to court, individually or in class actions, through arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.
Virtually every consumer contract we enter into contains buried within it a term saying that by signing the contract we agree to settle all disputes in arbitration and do not have a right to band our claims together in court in a class action. In the case of Discover Bank v. Superior Court, 36 Cal. 4th 148 (2005) the California Supreme Court held that the inclusion of such clauses in consumer contracts was unconscionable in light of the fact that consumers have absolutely no say as to the terms of the agreements they enter into with corporations. Thus those clauses are unenforceable and consumers are allowed to file class action claims in state courts. Today, the United States Supreme Court overturned that opinion holding that states do not have the right to find a contract's arbitration clause unenforceable because their ability to do so is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.
What does this mean for you and I? Well, in short, without access to courts and without the right to band together in class actions, consumers will have virtually no ability to put an end to bad and illegal corporate practices and will have virtually no ability to recover any damages they suffer resulting from bad corporate practices. Most individuals, for example, are not going to take a corporation to arbitration for a small claim of say $50. If they did so, the cost of arbitration to them would likely exceed the amount of their claim. Likewise, in arbitration, consumers would have no right or ability to obtain an injunction stopping a corporation from further engaging in an illegal practice. In short then it means that any time you have to sign a contract for a product or service, corporations have been given free reign to falsely advertise their products, breach the terms of the contract, and outright steal money from you and there is little or nothing you can do about it.
The threat of class action litigation has often served as a deterrent on corporations from engaging in illegal and un-consumer friendly practices. Through their decision, the Supreme Court has removed this deterrence and corporations are free to rip consumers off with virtual impunity and without fear of legal action that would otherwise vindicate the rights of consumers.
Unsurprisingly, this story appears to have received very little media coverage despite its far reaching implications for virtually every person in the United States. The Supreme Court has given corporations yet another victory in their quest to utterly dominate the people of the United States. Today is a truly sad day for consumers - all of us -
 
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Offline jofortruth

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Re: US Supreme Court Blocks Consumer Access to Courts
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2011, 02:02:29 PM »
Jeez, and people wonder why America is in trouble. The corporations and banks own everyone and everything, including "our" representatives. Disgusts me. All individuals can do is prepare for a robbing of the American middle class by reading and staying ahead.