The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that corporations may use arbitration clauses to block dissatisfied consumers or disgruntled employees from joining together in class actions. The ruling, in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, holds that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 takes precedence over state laws and court rulings in states that limit arbitration clauses deemed to be "unfair" to consumers.

"I think this decision will help consumers, not hurt them," said Alan S. Kaplinsky, Chair of Ballard Spahr's Consumer Financial Services Group. "The only people who do well in the class-action suits are the lawyers. The attorneys get millions in fees, and the consumers get a worthless coupon. For them, it’s better to go through arbitration."