Sometimes, when companies and corporations make an error or unlawfully conduct business, consumers join together in a lawsuit against them. But if AT&T has its way in a Supreme Court ruling, class-action lawsuits may soon be banned if those consumers were working with a business that issued a contract for their services.
The case, AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion will be heard next week by the U.S. Supreme Court, and seeks to prevent consumers to join class-action lawsuits if the business they are suing has issued a contract.
If the telecom giant gets its way, consumers may lose their most powerful legal tool available and reduce the legal weight of claims, especially for cases involving small amounts of money.
Class-action lawsuits are important for consumers because they allow consumers to band together in seeking compensation or redress, giving strength to their claim. Without the legal option, companies may be freer to engage in unfair or deceptive practices.
"The marketplace is fairer for consumers and workers because there's a deterrent out there," said Deepak Gupta, an attorney for the advocacy group Public Citizen who will argue on consumers' behalf before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times . "Companies are afraid of class actions. This helps keep them honest."
As a Charleston class-action claim attorney , I urge consumers to pay attention to this case. If it gets passed, the law could apply to everything from credit cards and cellphones to cable TV.