Businesses Come Out on Top in Current Supreme Court Term

June 21, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with business interests in a series of cases in its current term, which began in October and is due to end next week.

In 19 business-related cases that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce participated in by filing briefs backing companies, the lobbying group was on the winning side in 13 of them, with two yet to be decided. Here is a look at some of those rulings.

Bank of America v. Miami, and Wells Fargo v. Miami

A major dispute on whether banks can be sued by cities over the decline in tax revenue caused by alleged predatory lending and resulting foreclosures. The court, on a 8-0 vote, issued a mixed ruling on May 1, saying Miami could sue Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. but making it clear that the bar is high for cities to prevail.

Microsoft v. Baker

The court ruled 8-0 on June 12 in favor of Microsoft Corp. in its effort to fend off a class-action lawsuit brought by Xbox 360 owners who said the popular videogame console gouges discs because of a design defect.

Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court

The court on June 19 sided with corporate objections to plaintiffs “shopping” for friendly courts and slapped limits on where injury lawsuits may be filed, backing Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. 8-1 in a case involving suits over its blood-thinning medication Plavix.

BNSF v. Tyrrell

In a similar case to the Bristol-Myers dispute, the court on May 30 handed a win to BNSF Railway Co., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., on a 8-1 vote. BNSF was seeking to prevent plaintiffs from filing suit in courts perceived to be more friendly to their claims.

Midland Funding v. Johnson

The court sided with debt collectors over consumers, finding that people who have filed for bankruptcy cannot sue companies that try to recoup old debt that is not required to be paid back under state statutes of limitations. The 5-3 ruling on May 15 was a win for Midland Funding, a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group Inc.

Henson v. Santander

The justices declined to widen the reach of a federal law targeting abusive debt-collection tactics such as harassment and threats, ruling on June 12 it does not cover companies that buy debt, sometimes for pennies on the dollar, and then collect it. The 9-0 ruling was a victory for Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc.

(Compiled by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

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Latest Comments

  • June 23, 2017 at 3:00 pm
    Agent says:
    Dave, do you agree that we have a better chance to get good decisions than we had pre Gorsuch?
  • June 22, 2017 at 10:32 am
    Rosenblatt says:
    Thanks for the additional info, Counterpoint! I think it's messed up that a voluntary dismissal of a case due to a judge saying they can't form a class action invalidates any... read more
  • June 21, 2017 at 5:55 pm
    Counterpoint says:
    The main issue with the Microsoft one seems to be that the owners who originally brought the case had at one point voluntarily dismissed their accusations after a lower court ... read more

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