AT&T v. Concepcion Supreme Court Ruling Bad News for Future Class Actions

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on AT&T v. Concepcion, a case that dealt with class action lawsuits. In light of the PlayStation security breach and the first class action suits being prepared, this decision could be bad news for consumers. To find out what impact this could have on any potential class action suits against Sony, we turn to Jennifer Mercurio, Vice President & General Counsel for the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA). According to Mercurio, the ruling on AT&T v Concepcion is horrible news for consumers in general – and in particular – to PSN users who want to sue Sony as a group:

"AT&T v Concepcion is basically a death knell to class action lawsuits in the US. The 5-4 Supreme Court of the Unites States ruling invalidated a California law that attempted to limit contract arbitration clauses considered unfair to consumers. The decision, however, doesn’t stop disgruntled consumers from ‘suing’ a company for a real or perceived wrongs – like in the present PSN situation. Basically, the AT&T decision holds consumers to whatever contract they signed. So if there’s an arbitration clause in that contract which says they must arbitrate any issues individually, the AT&T decision holds them to that."

Those interested can read the decision, Justice Thomas’ concurrence and the dissent here (PDF).

[Full disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]

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