June 28, 2011
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Read Professor Hart's complete testimony
Testimony will focus on how the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes will affect future corporate behavior
Boulder – University of Colorado Professor Melissa Hart will testify before the United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary as an expert on how recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in Wal-Mart v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion restrict access to the judicial system and diminish corporate accountability.
Hart is scheduled to testify on Wednesday, June 29 at 8:30 a.m. (MST) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Hart, who filed an amicus brief in Wal-Mart v. Dukes on behalf of 31 Civil Procedure and Class Action Law Professors supporting the suit, was invited to testify because of her work as a scholar and teacher of civil procedure, Supreme Court decision-making and employment discrimination.
Hart will testify that the majority opinions in both Dukes and Concepcion reflect hostility to class action resolution of disputes and ignore the important fairness and efficiency gains that collective resolution offers. By limiting the ability of consumers and employees to join their small individual claims in a larger action, these decisions will make it harder to hold companies accountable for misconduct.
“These narrow majority decisions make it harder to enforce civil rights and consumer protection laws,” said Hart. “It is clear that in the future, every employment discrimination class action will be evaluated in light of the current Court’s hostility to class litigation.”
“The decision will thus have a significant chilling effect on the collective adjudication that has been an essential aspect of full enforcement of the law.”
Wal-Mart v. Dukes, begun in 2000, was the largest civil rights class action lawsuit in U.S. history. The entire Senate committee meeting will stream live at http://ow.ly/5rjst. Hart’s full testimony will be made available after the meeting.
About University of Colorado Law School
Established in 1892, the University of Colorado Law School (www.colorado.edu/law) is a top 25 public law school located at the base of the inspiring Rocky Mountains. Colorado Law’s 500 students, selected from among the statistically best applicants in the nation, represent 100 undergraduate institutions with a variety of diverse backgrounds. The school has dual degree programs in business, environmental studies, telecommunications, and public affairs. With a low faculty-to-student ratio, its highly published faculty is dedicated to interacting with students inside and outside the classroom. The school’s 8 clinics and 4 centers focus on areas of strength, including natural resources and environmental, American Indian, juvenile and family, telecommunications policy, and sustainable energy law. Colorado Law’s graduates are leaders in their profession and committed to public interest work.
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