A year ago today, a split Supreme Court issued a ruling that fundamentally changed the way consumers can pursue claims of corporate wrongdoing. In a 5-4 ruling in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court said companies have the right to force consumers who sign contracts—like debit-card agreements and cell phone plans—to accept terms that require them to settle all disputes in private arbitration and waive their right to band together in class actions.
Companies have rushed to add class action waivers into the contracts or make existing clauses more bulletproof. Wells Fargo, for example, tightened up the language in its contracts in February to make clear that the only exception to arbitration is small claims courts. (The bank told the Berger Record that is policies are “are consistent with the industry.”) “There is a realistic possibility that the decision will lead to a virtual end of class actions against businesses,” READ MORE