Supreme Court (Again) Upholds Class Action Arbitration Waivers

In American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-133_19m1.pdf), the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs who had signed an arbitration agreement with Amex covering all disputes, and expressly waiving plaintiff's right to pursue a class action in such an arbitration, could not bring class action antitrust claims against Amex.  Plaintiff sought to avoid the class action waiver by arguing that individual claims were cost prohibitive and that enforcing the class action waiver was tantamount to denying a remedy for antitrust violations.  The Court rejected that argument, holding that the arbitration contract must prevail and that the antitrust laws do not guarantee a cost-effective remedy. The decision, along with other recent precedents with complementary holdings, gives businesses a powerful tool to avoid at least some class action risk by using contracts that both require arbitration and also forbid class-wide arbitration.