Patt Morrison for November 10, 2010

The end of class-action lawsuits? The Supreme Court hears AT&T v. Concepcion

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The United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in a case that could altogether do away with class-action lawsuits. This most unlikely case, involving a couple who got a “free” phone but was forced to pay sales tax, is being touted as one of the most important consumer rights cases to come before the high court in years. AT&T, with the backing of the banking and utilities industries, argued that the arbitration clause in their fine print prohibits customers from taking part in class-action lawsuits. The company maintains that the suits are costly and wind up benefiting lawyers more than consumers. Others say forcing customers into arbitration rather than court tilts the balance of justice in favor or corporations. Will this be a victory for consumers or corporations?


David Savage, covers the U. S. Supreme Court for the Los Angeles Times

Deepak Dupta, an attorney with Public Citizen who represented the Concepcion’s

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