One Year Later: The Harms to Consumers
from the Supreme Court’s Concepcion
Decision Are Plainly Evident
April 25, 2012 -
In the year since the
U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T
Mobility v. Concepcion, consumers have regularly been blocked from pursuing
quarter-century, the court has held that corporations could force their
customers to settle any disputes in private arbitration tribunals instead of
court by inserting such language into their boilerplate contracts. In Concepcion, the court vastly expanded
the reach of arbitration by ruling that corporations could block the consumers
they force into arbitration from pursuing cases as a class.
Since Concepcion, judges have cited the case in
decisions that stopped at least 76 potential class-action lawsuits from going
forward. Several judges have
expressed frustration that the decision has forced them to stop consumer
actions that are best suited to proceed as class actions.
Class-action lawsuits historically
have provided a means to combat illegal payday lending practices, contest poor
business practices and confront discriminatory auto lending. But Concepcion has left many consumers without a means to pursue redress.