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Abstract

In this contribution to the Symposium honoring Stephen Yeazell, the author explores the interaction between group litigation and social context in the contemporary setting.  She traces the recent law of class action waivers coupled with mandatory individual arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts.  She shows how the Supreme Court’s decisions in AT&T v. Concepcion and American Express v. Italian Colors enable large corporations that impose class action bans on consumer and employees to achieve de facto immunity from decades of hard-won protective legislation.  She concludes that Yeazell’s insight—that the availability of group litigation is intricately linked with a society’s social arrangements—is as true today as it was in the 1970s, when he first examined the issue.

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