by Jeremy Leaming
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony today on how several recent Supreme Court decisions are undermining corporate accountability and limiting individuals’ abiilty to seek justice through the courts.
The hearing focused on three cases: Wal-Mart v. Dukes, which blocked some 1.6 million women alleging discrimination by Wal-Mart from asserting their claims as a class, AT&T v. Concepcion, which upheld an arbitration clause banning consumers from disputing an AT&T charge as a class, and Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders, which halted a lawsuit by investors alleging that Janus Capital knowingly made misleading statements.
“In my view, each of these decisions gives corporations additional power to act in their own self-interest and limits the ability of Americans to have their day in court,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy at the start of the hearing.
University of Colorado law professor Melissa Hart, who authored an ACS Issue Brief on state elimination of equal opportunity programs, echoed these concerns in her testimony about Wal-Mart and Conception, lamenting the court’s “hostility” toward the class action device.