Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Apr 2011 22:36 UTC
Legal "The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that AT&T - and indeed, any company - could block class-action suits arising from disputes with customers and instead force those customers into binding arbitration. The ruling reverses previous lower-court decisions that classified stipulations in AT&T's service contract which barred class arbitration as 'unconscionable'."
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RE: Ill be the odd man out...
by galvanash on Fri 29th Apr 2011 13:56 UTC in reply to "Ill be the odd man out..."
Member since:

...and before someone pounces on me about it, I understand and appreciate the concept of punishing the defendant when the actual damages per individual in the class is low but the size of the class is very large. Class action lawsuits really are currently the only reasonable legal avenue in these types of cases - and the main benefit is punishing the defendant, the plaintiffs rarely get any meaningful awards (usually a coupon for some such nonsense). For small damages, it would be ridiculous for individuals to file private lawsuits - I get that.

My problem with this is can we please try to come up with some other way to punish badly behaved corporations that doesn't involve giving all their money to lawyers (who are just as bad if not worse than the companies we are punishing)? WTF do we continue to do this? There has to be a better way...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Ill be the odd man out...
by Praxis on Fri 29th Apr 2011 17:30 in reply to "RE: Ill be the odd man out..."
Praxis Member since:

While I agree that class action suits aren't the most optimal solution in the world, until someone figures out a better idea its all we got. And if you read closer it doesn't just bar class action lawsuits, it allows them to bar all lawsuit, and class action arbitration. Leaving people with one on one arbitration as their only legal option to deal with any corp who wishes it.

And I hope you would agree that the precedent this sets about allowing people to sign away fundamental legal rights is horrible. Corporations have all of the bargaining power in these situations. Here is an 50 page agreement of legalese most people barely understand, you can sign it or got f--k yourself. That is the situation most people find themselves in. And is there any reason for a corporation not to stack these agreements in their favor as much as legally possible, which just got a lot bigger. I'm sure Sony would love to have had such an agreement in place right now. As would Apple who is also a target for class actions for its recent privacy violations. There really isn't a company in the world would wouldn't just love to take away your ability to sue it. This is simply the most blatant action I have ever seen to further establish a two tier legal system, normal people have to take their problem to court where everything is a matter of public record. But big corps who can get you to sign a EULA (I'm using the term as a catch all for ginormous take it or leave it contracts here, not just software) get to take you to an arbitration, the terms of which they largely control and they might as well throw some NDAs in their as well. No need for anyone else to know what happens during your private arbitration after all. And if you believe for a single second that these arbitration will be able to stay fair and impartial for long then you are a fool. On one side you have a nobody who you will probably never see again and will probably be barred from ever talking about what occurs here thanks to an NDA, and on the other you have the corporation that will be keeping you in work for the rest of your life. Sure sometimes the little guy will be thrown a small win here and there. People might get suspicious otherwise, but just like in Vegas, in the end the house will always win.

Edited 2011-04-29 17:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

StephenBeDoper Member since:

WTF do we continue to do this?

I suspect it has more than a little to do with the fact that most politicians were lawyers before they ran for office.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:

I think it has even more to do with dollars.

Reply Parent Score: 1