How much are you signing away to get that sweet, sweet 1994 Toyota Tercel?
An article in the New York Times caught my attention today. It’s about the fallout from the 2011 Supreme Court decision in AT&T v. Concepcion, which stated that corporations can write clauses into contracts to prevent class action lawsuits. To do this, the clauses require customers to settle disputes through arbitration (instead of in an actual court of law) and to relinquish their right to litigate as a class. In effect, the contracts waive the customers’ right to due process. Since that decision, the legal world has changed. For the better or for worse?
Keep reading the full post to see what’s up with these clauses and to learn a tip on how to get around them.
It’s always interesting to see what an entity does with its settlement money, whether required to or not. The recent $25 billion federal mortgage settlement, although recommended to be used for debt relief and foreclosure fraud investigation, has been earmarked by states for a variety of purposes. Most notably, the state of Georgia is using their slice of the pie to boost local infrastructure projects, arguing that the settlement includes no legally binding provisions for the money’s use and paving the way for other states to do the same. Companies also pop up in the news sometimes for funneling settlement money into investment funds or, more commonly and in the interest of good press, towards charity, as is the case when Gordon Ramsay donated $66,000 USD after skipping out on a charity function. Continue reading →