SCOTUS Stacking the Deck against American Workers and Consumers

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For Immediate Release: June 21, 2011

Contact: Ray De Lorenzi
202-965-3500, ext. 8369
media.replies@justice.org

SCOTUS Stacking the Deck against American Workers and Consumers

Recent decisions give immunity to corporations that cheat customers or abuse employees

Washington, DC —The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent spate of decisions granting immunity to corporate wrongdoers has added almost insurmountable hurdles for Americans to receive justice and hold powerful interests accountable.

Yesterday’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes is just the latest barrier that prevents workers and consumers with similar claims or injuries to ban together as a class.  Less than two months ago, the Supreme Court in Concepcion v. AT&T gave corporations broad authority to force consumers into one-sided secret arbitrations, practically writing a blueprint for how to avoid class-actions, and ultimately, any accountability.

“These recent decisions are a dream come true to corporations that cheat consumers or abuse employees, and refuse to be held accountable for it,” said American Association for Justice President Gibson Vance.  “By stripping away important legal protections, the Supreme Court has sent a loud-and-clear message to the American people: you’re out of luck and on your own.”

Wal-Mart and Concepcion are just two of the several decisions in recent years that added major hurdles for Americans to access justice.  For example, Stolt-Nielsen v. AnimalFeeds (2010) and Rent-a-Center v. Jackson (2010) granted corporations more power to use forced arbitrations, while Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009) and Bell-Atlantic v. Twombly (2007) created vague new pleading standards that weakened basic legal protections.

“Big Business has incessantly run to Congress to demand legal protections or immunity at every possible opportunity.  Yet all along, corporations have stealthily used the courts to advance their own agenda that puts profits over the well-being of all Americans,” said Vance.

The Center for Constitutional Litigation has filed amicus briefs on behalf of AAJ in several of these cases.  More information can be found at www.justice.org/courts.

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