03/28/2012 // San Francisco , CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Bay Area Consumer Protection Lawyer Eric Grover
San Francisco, CA (CA Consumer Protection Lawyer News) — California consumers were dealt another blow by a federal appeals court on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, by another ruling in favor of big business instead of in the best interests of consumers, reports San Francisco consumer protection attorney Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against a case filed by helicopter pilots, who sued the bank that serviced their student loans, by maintaining that the U.S. Supreme Court’s AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion decision had essentially “shut down California’s escape hatch” for consumers. This “arbitration escape hatch” allowed consumers to seek injunctive relief in court even if they failed to opt out of a mandatory arbitration clause, Law.com reported.
The Concepcion ruling stated that “the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 is superior to all state laws and court rulings, and arbitration clauses must be enforced even if they may be unfair under state law. This decision essentially allows companies to exempt themselves from any class action lawsuits that wronged consumers or employees may bring against them,” as previously reported by Keller Grover in “Los Angeles, California Employment Lawyer: Consumer Class Action Suits On Life-Support.”
The former students of a now-bankrupt helicopter-pilot training school, Silver State Helicopters, filed their lawsuit—Kilgore v. KeyBank—in order to prohibit their loan provider from collecting on the debt. The plaintiffs allege that the helicopter pilot training school was a “sham” operation that targeted low-income prospects, and failed to fully staff the training program, which never intended for students to finish their curriculum. The suit further alleged that KeyBank and Silver State Helicopters had a financial relationship.
In addition, the court documents alleged that the school “misappropriated” loan funds issued by KeyBank, notes Grover, a Bay Area consumer protection lawyer.
U.S. District Senior Judge Thelton Henderson initially declined to enforce the arbitration agreements in 2009, but later dismissed the case after Concepcion, Law.com reported.
The court of appeals ultimately ruled that Concepcion had closed off California’s exception for injunctive relief. Senior Judge Stephen Trott, who drafted the opinion, stated, “We are not blind to the concerns engendered in our holding today.” Trott also recognized that the decision could “’reduce the effectiveness’ of the state laws protecting consumers…and that “these concerns, however, cannot justify departing from “federal law and Concepcion,” Law.com reported.
“This is yet another pro-business and anti-consumer decision resulting from last year’s troubling US Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, allowing businesses to mandate that consumers give up class action rights,” asserts Grover, a Bay Area consumer protection lawyer.” California consumers are continuing to be hurt by the courts’ decisions and the unfair business practices that seem to be prevalent nationwide.”
This news was brought to you by the Bay Area consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover LLP.
Keller Grover is an experienced employment law firm that has played leading roles in a wide variety of employment related claims, including wage and hour, breach of contract cases and discrimination and harassment cases based on race, sex, age, disability and other legally protected categories. Keller Grover LLP is dedicated to helping workers whose wage and hour rights have been violated. For more information about a CA Consumer Protection Lawyer at Keller Grover and employment law cases, please visit www.kellergover.com.
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