WASHINGTON — Less noticed in a flurry of high-profile rulings on race, voting rights and gay marriage was how the U.S. Supreme Court rounded off its term by delivering a string of victories to businesses and employers.
Just this week, the court handed wins to generic drug manufacturers facing design-defect lawsuits, employers battling harassment and retaliation claims and landowners struggling to obtain permits for construction projects. In all four cases, the court was split 5-4 with the conservatives in the majority.
Overall, during the term that started nine months ago, the Supreme Court has delivered a series of victories for corporate defendants on class action lawsuits and arbitration, curbing the ability of consumers to file mass claims against companies over such matters as defective products and unfair practices. Comcast Corp and American Express Co were among the big winners in those cases.
As progressive groups have been quick to point out, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the main group representing business interests, received a favorable outcome in 14 of the 18 cases in which it filed friend-of-the-court briefs.