The U.S. Supreme Court Has Been Incredibly Pro-Business This Term

Jun 20, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with business interests in a series of cases in its current term, which began in October and is due to end next week.

In 19 business-related cases that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce participated in by filing briefs backing companies, the lobbying group was on the winning side in 13 of them, with two yet to be decided. Here is a look at some of those rulings.

Bank of America v. Miami, and Wells Fargo v. Miami

A major dispute on whether banks can be sued by cities over the decline in tax revenue caused by alleged predatory lending and resulting foreclosures. The court, on a 8-0 vote, issued a mixed ruling on May 1, saying Miami could sue Bank of America (bac) and Wells Fargo & Co (wfc) but making it clear that the bar is high for cities to prevail.

Microsoft v. Baker

The court ruled 8-0 on June 12 in favor of Microsoft (msft) in its effort to fend off a class-action lawsuit brought by Xbox 360 owners who said the popular videogame console gouges discs because of a design defect.

Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court

The court on June 19 sided with corporate objections to plaintiffs "shopping" for friendly courts and slapped limits on where injury lawsuits may be filed, backing Bristol-Myers Squibb (bmy) 8-1 in a case involving suits over its blood-thinning medication Plavix.

BNSF v. Tyrrell

In a similar case to the Bristol-Myers dispute, the court on May 30 handed a win to BNSF Railway, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway (brk.a), on a 8-1 vote. BNSF was seeking to prevent plaintiffs from filing suit in courts perceived to be more friendly to their claims.

Midland Funding v. Johnson

The court sided with debt collectors over consumers, finding that people who have filed for bankruptcy cannot sue companies that try to recoup old debt that is not required to be paid back under state statutes of limitations. The 5-3 ruling on May 15 was a win for Midland Funding, a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group (ecpg).

Henson v. Santander

The justices declined to widen the reach of a federal law targeting abusive debt-collection tactics such as harassment and threats, ruling on June 12 it does not cover companies that buy debt, sometimes for pennies on the dollar, and then collect it. The 9-0 ruling was a victory for Santander Consumer USA Holdings (sc).

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