Class Actions Key Tool in Combating Discrimination
Statement of LDF President and Director-Counsel on the Importance of Class Actions to Civil Rights Litigation in advance of oral argument in AT & T Mobility LLC v. Vincent and Liza Concepcion
(New York, New York) – The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Vincent and Liza Concepcion. This case addresses the lawfulness of class-action bans. Corporations are increasingly using this novel type of contractual provision to bar individuals from filing class actions in any legal forum if they want to obtain a job, purchase a car, receive a loan, or enter into other transactions. LDF’s brief urges the Supreme Court to reject AT&T Mobility’s argument that federal law prevents states from applying ordinary legal principles to invalidate contracts that ban class actions in cases where the class-action bans insulate companies from the full scope of their potential liability.
“Although we have made great strides as a nation, class actions remain essential to promote equal opportunity for all Americans. This is particularly apparent in employment, lending, and other contexts where class-action bans could prevent individuals from asserting their rights,” said John Payton, LDF President and Director-Counsel. “If individuals who experience discrimination lack access to class actions, companies may determine that allowing widespread civil rights violations to persist is less costly than taking corrective action. The result would be a less just society.”
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.(LDF) is America's premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 70 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.