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consumer rights 7 articles

Access to justice: Bills To Strip Citizens of Rights to Sue Corporations Introduced to House

House Republicans have introduced a series of new bills that threaten access to justice, aiming to make it very difficult, and in some cases impossible, for an American citizen to sue a corporation, even in cases of serious injury and death. House Resolution 985, the so-called “Fairness in Class Action Litigation” Act, is one of two proposed laws that could effectively dismantle citizens’ rights to hold companies accountable under the law. The bill introduces several new restrictions and qualifications that take aim at class actions by fettering them with complications, such as barring judges from certifying class actions if any ... Read More

Supreme Court ruling throws consumer rights to the wolves

The U.S. Supreme Court has made another monumental ruling that empowers corporations while stripping everyday Americans of their consumer rights. In a 5-4 vote last week, the justices ruled to allow corporations the right to ban class actions in the small print of their contracts. “Now, whenever you sign a contract to get a cell phone, open a bank account or take a job, you may be giving up your right to hold companies accountable for fraud, discrimination or other illegal practices,” the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen said in a response to the ruling. The case originated with Liza ... Read More

San Francisco law would expose cell phone radiation levels

San Francisco, California is poised to become the first city in the United States to order cell phone companies and manufacturers to disclose how much radiation their phones emit. Cell phone use has been linked to cancer and brain tumors by many medical researchers. Other researchers, however, say the studies are inconclusive or reject them outright. The city’s board of supervisors voted 10 to 1 earlier this week in favor of the new law, which would require cell phone vendors to publish the radiation emission levels of all wireless devices in their stores. Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign ... Read More

Public health and safety often sacrificed for pro-business legislation

What’s good for business isn’t always good for the average American taxpayer. Ken Sobel, a civil attorney and a member of the Florida Justice Association’s Board of Directors, recently wrote an editorial for South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, calling attention to a number of bills pending in the Florida legislature that favor corporate interests at the expense of public safety and taxpayer money. According to Sobel, in the bills currently being considered by the Florida legislature, “corporate responsibility gets reduced, people get injured, and the state’s tax payers are being called upon to pay for the increased medical expenses that will follow.” One ... Read More

Rape victim jumps arbitration hurdle, reclaims right to trial

One would think that a woman who is gang raped by seven coworkers, then locked in a shipping container for more than 24 hours without food, water or even a bed, would be able to find justice. After all, this is the United States. We have justice written into our constitution, our pledge of allegiance, and the very fabric of society. But for Jamie Leigh Jones, a 21-year-old Halliburton computer technician working in Iraq, obtaining justice against those fellow Halliburton employees who brutalized her has been a long, complicated and arduous battle. For years, Jones has been seeking compensation against ... Read More

Yamaha loses fight to force arbitration in Texas lawsuit

The parents of a 13-year old boy who was killed in a Rhino accident scored a small victory this month when the Ninth Court of Appeals of Texas ruled their lawsuit against Yamaha could proceed to trial. Yamaha wanted the case to go to arbitration, but the court rejected its petition. The boy’s parents filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Yamaha and its subsidiaries on November 5, 2007, alleging that the Rhino’s poor design and inadequate safety features directly contributed to their son’s death. The Rhino is notorious for its narrow track width and wheels, which, combined with its high ... Read More

New federal agency would protect consumers against bad business

If President Obama has his way, businesses that rely on predatory and deceptive lending practices will soon have to straighten up or face federal fines and other punitive action. In his weekly radio address, Barack Obama defended his proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, saying that the new government office is needed to crack down on the types of business practices that led to the economic crisis. The proposed agency comes as part of the Obama administration’s overhaul of federal regulations governing the financial sector. “It’s no coincidence that the lack of strong consumer protections led to abuses against consumers,” President ... Read More