Justice Scalia and the Business Law World

The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has sparked conversations about how his opinions affected major areas of business law.

Justice Scalia left what some call a “business law legacy.” Some of his more important opinions include Morrison v. National Australia Bank, Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, and American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant. These cases had major impacts on business law and litigation.

In Morrison, Justice Scalia rejected the “conduct and effects” test which U.S. courts used when deciding cases related to the sale and purchase of foreign companies’ securities. The outcome of the case was that U.S. securities law will only be relevant when dealing with “transactions in securities listed on domestic exchanges, and domestic transactions in other securities.” Since Morrison, many claims involving domestic purchases through foreign exchanges have been brought outside the U.S., thereby greatly affecting the availability of the U.S. forum when it comes to securities litigation.

In the Wal-Mart case, Justice Scalia held that the Plaintiffs did not establish any “specific employment practice” by Wal-Mart in the class action discrimination suit which claimed that managers, in their discretion, discriminated against women by paying less and promoting less. This case affects class action employment litigation and how discrimination in the workplace is viewed from a legal standpoint.

The last two cases, Concepcion and Italian Colors, both involved enforcement and interpretation issues surrounding arbitration clauses. Writing for the Court, Justice Scalia declared that class action waivers are enforceable in arbitration agreements regardless of cost and amount of potential recovery. Since these decisions, lower courts have interpreted the analysis to apply to a broad range of commercial agreements.

Justice Scalia’s decisions had great impact on the legal issues surrounding business law and litigation. Current pending case outcomes are unpredictable as they will be analyzed without Justice Scalia’s legal mind. Starting a business or continuing to have a successful business can be challenging because of ever-changing business laws and regulations. Seeking the advice of an experienced business attorney will help business owners gain foresight into upcoming and current changes, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls. Contact the experienced attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation by calling (516) 280-7105 or visiting www.bfandapc.com.

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