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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Alliance for Justice presents “Forced Arbitration and the Roberts Court: How Hidden Clauses in Everyday Contracts Can Take Away Your Rights”

On November 10, 2010, Alliance for Justice hosted a panel in San Francisco to discuss the importance and potential ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court case, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion.

The panel comprised three distinguished attorneys who practice in the fields of consumer and employee rights: Arthur Bryant of Public Justice, Cliff Palefsky of McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky, and James Sturdevant, AFJ board member and Principal of The Sturdevant Law Firm.

This event was held just one day after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in AT&T v. Concepcion, which may have the effect of severely restricting individuals’ ability to seek justice in the courts by use of class action law suits.

All three panel members emphasized the immensity of what is at stake in this case – the ability of large corporations to effectively shield themselves from liability for their wrongdoings and prevent everyday citizens from grouping together to address these wrongdoings in a class action lawsuit.

The panelists agreed that Tuesday’s oral arguments went better than they had anticipated, but that it is still quite unclear exactly how the Court will decide. Although the panelists expressed a reserved optimism that the Court would decide this case favorably, they maintained that regardless of the Court’s decision in this case, there are a number of other cases the Court will be decide on similarly pivotal issues concerning access to justice. Forced arbitration clauses and restrictions on class action suits are but two examples of ways in which large corporations are skewing justice in their favor.

The event was held in collaboration with National Employment Lawyers Association, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law & Policy, Public Justice, and the Bay Area Lawyers Chapter of the American Constitution Society.

For more information on the details of this case, AFJ has released this report, and AFJ President Nan Aron has written this article for Change.org.

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