We wrote last month about how big business has fared extremely well in cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Business Week recently complied a listing of five important pro-business decisions issued by the Supreme Court. The result in each of the cases has been considered by most court observers as being good for Corporate America and bad for ordinary citizens. To put it bluntly, U.S. consumers have had a tough time with the current court. A brief summary of each case is set out below.
Damages in Class Action
The case of Comcast v. Behrend was decided earlier this year. In that case, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that Comcast did not have to face an antitrust suit filed on behalf of 2 million cable customers because the Plaintiffs hadn’t established a common method to determine monetary damages. This was a 5-4 decision.
Arbitration In Class Actions
In her dissent, Justice Kagan said the ruling could help protect monopolists. Justice Scalia, again writing for the majority, held in Amex v. Italian Colors that merchants seeking to sue American Express en masse were bound by an agreement they signed to pursue claims individually before an arbitrator. This was a 5-3 decision.
Global Tort Suits
In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for a unanimous court that multinational corporations generally should not face liability in U.S. courts under the 1789 Alien Tort Statute for alleged human-rights abuses overseas. The law had been used aggressively by rights activists since the 1980s.
Liability In Harassment Lawsuits
In Vance v. Ball State, Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion put new restrictions on lawsuits claiming on-the-job harassment. By tightening the definition of the word “supervisor,” the ruling limited companies’ liability. This was a 5-4 decision.
Writing for the majority in Mutual v. Bartlett, Justice Alito reinforced obstacles to patient lawsuits against generic-drug manufacturers, overturning a $21 million award to a woman who suffered injuries after taking a generic painkiller. This was a 5-4 decision. Without question this was a horrendous result for victims of drug company wrongdoing.
Source: Business Week
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.