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Category Archives: Courts

Use Amazon, Uber or Walmart.com? You’ve probably signed away your right to sue them

CNN Business: “Tucked into the sign-up process for many popular e-commerce sites and apps are dense terms-of-service agreements that legal experts say are changing the nature of consumer transactions, creating a veil of secrecy around how these companies function. The small print in these documents requires all signatories to agree to binding arbitration and to clauses that ban class actions. Just by signing up for these services, consumers give up their rights to sue companies like Amazon, Uber and Walmart before a jury of their peers, agreeing instead to undertake a private process overseen by a paid arbitrator. Binding arbitration clauses have been common for decades, whether buying a car or joining a membership club like Costco (but the proliferation of apps and e-commerce means that such clauses now cover millions of everyday commercial transactions, from buying groceries to getting to the airport. In 2019, the US Supreme Court issued the latest in a series of rulings upholding companies’ rights to enforce binding arbitration agreements and banning class action cases.

Consumers are “losing access to the courthouse,” said Imre Szalai, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He authored a 2019 study which found that 81 companies in the Fortune 100 employ some form of consumer arbitration agreements, with clauses that cover more than 60% of US retail e-commerce sales. In an email, Amazon said it works to resolve customer concerns about its own products or those offered by third-party sellers on its site. “As a result, the vast majority of customer complaints are resolved informally,” said a company spokesperson. “Every customer is important to us, so we seek to resolve customer complaints individually with the customer whenever possible.”…

Forest Service says Appalachian Trail isn’t “land” in pipeline fight at SCOTUS

Quartz: “It’s not every Supreme Court brief that goes off the beaten legal path, supplementing jurisprudence with humor and spicing up statutory interpretation with devastating wit. But the filing from environmentalists fighting the US Forest Service (USFS) over its grant of a license for a gas pipeline through the Appalachian Trail is one such gem. … Continue Reading

Classaction.gov

Rose, Amanda M., Classaction.gov (February 10, 2020). Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 20-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3534317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3534317 “This Essay proposes the creation of a federally-run class action website and supporting administration (collectively, Classaction.gov) that would both operate a comprehensive research database on class actions and assume many of the notice and claims processing… Continue Reading

Life Sentenced Population Exceeds Entire Prison Population in 1970

The Sentencing Project: “Nationwide there are more people serving life sentences today (206,000) than the entire prison population in 1970 (196,000), according to a new fact sheet released by The Sentencing Project’s Campaign to End Life Imprisonment. Starting in the 1970s, the United States’s prison population began its steady upward climb to the vastly overcrowded… Continue Reading

Report on Artificial Intelligence in Federal Agencies

Washington, D.C., Stanford, Calif., and New York, February 18, 2020 — The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), Stanford Law School, and New York University School of Law are pleased to announce the release of a major report exploring federal agencies’ use of artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out administrative law functions. This is the most comprehensive study of… Continue Reading

ABA President Martinez defends judiciary, prosecutors at Midyear Meeting

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 18, 2020 – “American Bar Association President Judy Perry Martinez delivered a strong defense Monday of the judiciary and prosecutors in remarks to the ABA House of Delegates, the association’s policy-making body, on the final day of the ABA Midyear Meeting. “The personal attacks on our judges and prosecutors must cease,” she… Continue Reading

Statement of ABA President Re Judicial Independence Updated

Statement of ABA President Judy Perry Martinez Re: Judicial Independence and Sound Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion – WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2020 – “The American Bar Association steadfastly supports judicial independence and the sound exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Public officials who personally attack judges or prosecutors can create a perception that the system is serving a… Continue Reading

DOJ files new lawsuits in renewed push to pressure ‘sanctuary cities’

WSJ.com [paywall]: “The U.S. Justice Department filed three lawsuits against California, New Jersey and a Washington county late Monday over their laws and policies limiting local cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, escalating a Trump administration battle against liberal states and localities that adopt so-called sanctuary cities…” See also: DOJ Sues NJ and officials over… Continue Reading

DOJ Sues NJ and officials over ICE access to immigration docs

Justice Department Sues State of New Jersey, New Jersey Governor, and New Jersey Attorney General for Prohibiting State Officials From Sharing Information With U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “Today, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the State of New Jersey, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy, and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. The… Continue Reading

Draft DHS memo highlights retaliation against states not releasing driver records

A memo obtained by BuzzFeed News outlines options to put leverage on states that, like New York, deny federal immigration officials access to state driver records: “The Trump administration drafted a slew of plans to consider not only circumventing state laws limiting the Department of Homeland Security’s access to driver records, but to retaliate against… Continue Reading

Academic Feeder Judges

Wasserman, Howard, Academic Feeder Judges (January 28, 2020). Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3526903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526903 “This paper identifies “academic feeder judges”—the federal judges (especially from courts of appeals) for whom law professors clerked at the beginning of their careers and the judges who “produce” law professors from… Continue Reading