AT&T will pay $60 million to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for allegedly slowing data speeds for millions of wireless customers who paid for the “unlimited” plans. The federal regulators complaint said that the company would reduce customers’ internet speeds by as much as 90%. The FTC said the company did not adequately disclose to consumers that it would slow data speeds once the consumers used a certain amount of data in their monthly cycle.


This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

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Light Blue Icon "Cell Phone"David Lazarus at the LA Times recently reported that the AT&T Mobile Insurance consumer contracts are deceptive.

Continue reading “LA Times reports that AT&T consumer contracts are unfair”

buttonApple Inc. and AT&T Mobility LLC have reportedly agreed to a settlement of a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Continue reading “Apple settles iPad class action”

Buy a Microsoft consumer product, and you won’t be allowed to join a class action suit against the company, even if you feel you’ve been harmed.  That’s what the fine print on Microsoft’s new end user license agreement (EULA) says.  Last week, Tim Fielden, assistant general counsel for Microsoft announced the details in a Microsoft blog.  Microsoft knew the change wouldn’t go down well, which is why it chose to make the announcement just before Memorial Day weekend, when people are rarely paying attention to the news. Continue reading “Microsoft user agreements now ban class actions”

 A class action settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against AT&T in the Court of Common Pleas For Cuyahoga County Ohio (styled Robert Schmidt v. AT&T and SBC Internet Services, Inc. d/b/a AT&T Internet Services Case No. 09-688788).  The suit alleged that AT&T failed to deliver DSL Service to its customers at the speeds promised and that allegedly AT&T breached its contracts with and defrauded some of its customers by limiting the maximum data speed that some of its customers could obtain to a rate below the maximum rate for the plan the customer purchased.  The settlement class includes current or former customers of AT&T who paid for DSL Service from AT&T between March 31, 1994 and January 27, 2012. Continue reading “AT&T settles class action lawsuit with DSL customers”

Two senators introduced a bill on October 4, to prohibit wireless companies from having clauses in contracts that prohibit consumers from suing the companies because of hidden fees or other contract disputes.

Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Al Franken of Minnesota introduced the measure, which would ban the common practice of putting clauses in wireless phone and data contracts that require consumers to use binding arbitration in the case of a dispute. Continue reading “Two senators introduce bill to allow suits v. cell companies”

On September 12, 2011, a federal judge denied AT&T’s motion to move an at-home call center wage and hour class action lawsuit from California to Florida.  Perry v. AT&T, Case No. C11-01488 is currently pending in the Northern District of California.

The class action complaint against AT&T Mobility and Arise Virtual Solutions was filed on March 28, 2011, alleging that the companies misclassified a class of At-Home Call Center employees as independent contractors. Continue reading “AT&T: Motion to Move Wage & Hour Class Action to Florida denied”

Cliff Palefsky of McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky disputes the assertion that sending a case to arbitration has no impact on substantive rights; that faulty premise, he contends, underlies much of the Court’s arbitration jurisprudence.   This article appears on Scotusblog.

The Supreme Court has told us repeatedly that judges do not create public policy. Public policy, they say, must emanate from the Constitution or a statute passed by Congress. Docket clearing is not a public policy and the FAA did not and could not create a public policy that conflicts with the express mandates of the Constitution. Continue reading “A comment on AT&T v. Concepcion”

Subscribers of DirecTV that were assessed fees ranging from $100 to $500 for the early cancellation of their service filed a class action against DirecTV.  The class action lawsuit alleges that these fees were illegal because DirecTV failed to inform subscribers that they were under any contractual obligation to maintain service for a given period of time (usually 18 months to two years) when they signed up for the service. Continue reading “Court denies motion to compel arbitration in DirecTV case”

Victorious a few months ago before the U.S. Supreme Court in the AT&T v. Concepcion case we earlier discussed on this blog, in which the court held customers were required by their phone contracts to arbitrate claims rather than sue, AT&T is now trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

The telecommunications giant has filed suit in eight federal courts throughout the country, seeking to block customer arbitrations that seek to prevent a potential merger with T-Mobile. Continue reading “After Supreme Court win forcing customers to arbitrate, AT&T now sues to stop arbitration”

I recently posted the results of the Supreme Court opinion in AT&T v. Concepcion – the invalidation of a state law that rendered unenforceable the waiver of class action suits in arbitration.  However, upon closer review of the opinion, the method utilized by the Supreme Court majority of five Republican nominated Justices is very troubling.  Professing to simply follow the “text” of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), the opinion of the court written by Justice Scalia in effect took a black magic marker and crossed out the words of the text they didn’t like.  Without those words in the statute, the result would indeed be true to the text.  But just as aptly as the boy in the Hans Christian Andersen fable cried, “the Emperor has no clothes,” ignoring the words of a statute is not a textual approach. Continue reading “Justice Scalia ignores text of Federal Arbitration Act”

On April 27, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. __ (2011), in which the Court held that § 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempts a certain California judicial rule (the so-called Discover Bank rule) relating to collective-action waivers in arbitration agreements.  Justice Scalia authored the 5-4 majority opinion, and – not surprisingly – was joined by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts.   Although AT&T Mobility in some ways is a victory for big business and a potential setback for consumers, the decision is by no means the death knell for consumer class actions.  Nor does the decision signify the end to consumer challenges to pre-dispute arbitration provisions, including on the grounds of unconscionability. Continue reading “AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion: By No Means the End”

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in AT&T v. Concepcion, which I wrote about earlier in this blog, ruling that arbitration agreements can bar class action lawsuits. In its 5-4 decision, the Court, in effect, reversed the California Supreme Court’s decision in Discover Bank v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, 36 Cal. 4th 148, 113 P.3d 1100 (2005).  In Discover Bank, the California Supreme Court held that class action waivers in consumer arbitration agreements are unconscionable if the agreement is an adhesion contract, disputes between the parties are likely to involve small amounts of damages, and the party with inferior bargaining power alleges a deliberate scheme to defraud.  The 5-4 majority found that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts California law. Continue reading “US Supreme Court rules that arbitration agreements can bar class action lawsuits”

A class action settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against AT&T in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (entitled Buccellato v. AT&T Operations, Inc., Case No. C10-00463-LHK).  The lawsuit alleged that AT&T misclassified the Class Members as exempt from the overtime pay requirements of federal and state law, and consequently failed to pay them overtime pay. Continue reading “AT&T Blue Sky Project overtime pay class action settled”

As indicated earlier in this blog, this term the U.S. Supreme Court will be focusing on more issues involved in class actions than it has in decades.  It granted certiorari in the now well known case of Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc., and should be issuing an opinion this term in the equally well known case entitled AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion.  Both of these cases from the Ninth Circuit were decided in favor of the plaintiffs, but the Ninth Circuit is the most reversed Circuit in the country, so decisions in these cases could reconfigure the class action landscape. Continue reading “U.S. Supreme Court docket for this term focused on class actions”

The US Supreme Court heard oral argument in the AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion case on November 10, 2010.  As we explained earlier on this blog, the class action complaint alleged that AT&T misleadingly offered a “free” phone to consumers, then charged consumers sales tax for “free” phones.  AT&T demanded individual arbitration, relying on a provision in the contract that prohibited class actions.  Both the district court and the Ninth Circuit ruled for the plaintiff by holding that the provision prohibiting class actions was unconscionable under California law.  AT&T asked the US Supreme Court to consider whether Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act pre-empts state law on the unconscionability of class action arbitration waivers. Continue reading “Oral argument heard in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion”

Twenty five different amicus briefs were filed in the AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion case.  As mentioned earlier in this blog, the Concepcion case presents the issue of whether states retain authority to apply general principles of contract interpretation to class action waivers found in arbitration agreements. Continue reading “Twenty five amicus briefs filed in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion”

The argument in the AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion case scheduled for later this week is starting to generate some attention.  Click this link to see the LA Times article published on November 5, 2010.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20101105,0,639054.column

The National Employment Lawyers Association (“NELA”) filed an amicus brief in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.  That case presents the important question of whether states retain authority to apply general principles of contract interpretation to class action waivers found in arbitration agreements. The NELA brief says that the use of such waivers is becoming increasingly common in the labor and employment context, particularly in so-called “take it or leave it” contracts that employees are required to sign in exchange for employment. This undermines the important role that the class action device serves in vindicating claims of workplace discrimination, retaliation and wage & hour violations. Continue reading “NELA files amicus brief in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion”

The National Consumer Law Center (“NCLC”) filed an amicus brief in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.  As mentioned earlier in this blog, the Concepcion case involves the issue of whether states retain authority to apply general principles of contract interpretation to class action waivers found in arbitration agreements. Continue reading “NCLC files amicus brief in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion”