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May 2010 Archives

Supreme Court Hears Case Addressing Arbitrator's Authority to Determine Unconscionability

On April 26, 2010, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case addressing whether an arbitrator has authority to determine whether an arbitration clause is unenforceable due to unconscionability.

Bank of America Settles Countrywide Lawsuit

Countrywide Financial Corp., a mortgage lender acquired by Bank of America, has agreed to a $624 million settlement of a lawsuit which accused the lender of misleading investors about its lending practices.

Supreme Court Deals Major Blow to Class Actions and Consumers

In an Opinion issued April 27, 2010, the United States Supreme Court held that arbitrators could not allow class arbitration where an arbitration clause is silent as to whether class arbitration is permitted The decision in Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. Animalfeeds Int’l Corp. is a significant blow to consumers and class action plaintiffs...

'Tort Reform' For BP Oil Spill Damage In Gulf Of Mexico?

After the Exxon Valdez oil spill created long-term ecological and economic damage to the Prince William Sound area of Alaska, the oil industry persuaded the U.S. Congress to give it a $75 million liability cap for damages for future oil spills. Today, as the BP offshore oil rig disaster continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf of Mexico and the communities that depend on it, BP may be shielded from fully compensating the people, industries and ecosystems it has harmed even though the damages will surely reach billions. This is tort reform on a grand scale, and shows how unfair and unwise it is to give private industry blanket protections from responsibility for future negligence or recklessness. In the quest for profit, why should BP or any other oil company invest more in safety when they have such big protection from being held accountable for their actions?

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