The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion. It could decide to allow corporations to ban class actions in the fine print of their consumer and employee contracts. Consumer, employee and civil rights groups are raising the alarm on the potential impact of this case.
The Concepcions sought a class action on behalf of themselves and other consumers who were charged $30 for a phone that AT&T had advertised as free. AT&T would like the Court to enforce a class action ban that it had inserted within its forced arbitration clause in its customer contract. The case potentially could result in the end of class actions – meaning consumers and employees, especially those with small-dollar claims, will no longer be able to band together to hold corporations accountable for their wrongdoing.
Alliance for Justice today released a report "Will the Supreme Court Give AT&T a License to Steal?" which zeroes in on the Roberts Court and the "license" it will give corporate interests to run roughshod over consumers and employees should AT&T get its way.
Meanwhile at the Huffington Post, Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director at U.S. PIRG, offers his take on the potentially disastrous consequences of the case.