SCOTUS Decision Re AMEX v Italian Colors: Take It or Leave It

Over these past few weeks, we have heard a lot about SCOTUS’ decision regarding DOMA and the Voting Rights Act. Little attention has focused on the majority’s decision to prevent small businesses from pursuing claims of abuse of monopoly power under the antitrust laws. At root, the Court said the Federal Arbitration Act virtually overrides any other statute.

Before this decision, SCOTUS said that courts should only enforce arbitration clauses where a party could “effectively vindicate its statutory rights.” However, with American Express v. Italian Colors, a majority (composed of the five conservative justices) held that the arbitration clauses are enforceable even if doing so makes it impossible for a plaintiff to actually vindicate its statutory rights.

The plaintiffs in this case were small merchants (think mom and pop shops) and restaurants. These small businesses claimed that Amex was throwing its weight around as a monopoly by requiring them to accept Amex and by extension requiring them to pay higher rates. The evidence now required of them to prove their case would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars–all for a best case scenario of recovering a small percentage of those costs.

Justice Elana Kagan wrote in her dissent, that this decision was a “betrayal” of prior arbitration decisions. Decide for yourself whether the majority that Scalia led got it right.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Us

This blog is maintained by attorneys at Stritmatter Kessler Whelan (SKW), focused on important legal issues, news, and developments... MORE
Connect
   
Subscribe

Add this blog to your feeds or subscribe by email using the form below.

Favorite Quotation

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
— Proverbs 24:10

Intense love does not measure, it just gives.
— Mother Teresa

The test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.
— Pearl S. Buck

You may trod on me in the very dirt. But still, like dirt, I'll rise.
— Maya Angelou

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity.
— George Bernard Shaw

Without justice, courage is weak.
— Benjamin Franklin

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fairness is an across-the-board requirement for all our interactions with each other ...Fairness treats everybody the same.
— Barbara Jordan

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
— Thomas Jefferson

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any equal hope in the world?
— Abraham Lincoln

I don’t know what kind of a future life I believe in, but I believe that all that we go through here must have some value.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

The basic proposition of the worth and dignity of man is the strongest, the most creative force now present in the world.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it is obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.
— James Madison

There is no truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.
— Thomas Jefferson