Supreme Court Rules Against Oakland Restaurant in AmEx Suit

It’s not every day that an Oakland restaurant headlines a Supreme Court ruling, but that’s what happened last Thursday when, with little fanfare, the court handed down its decision for American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant. The case hinged on whether Italian Colors (2220 Mountain Blvd.) and several other restaurants could file a class-action suit against American Express for what they believed to be unjust fees — despite the fact that they’d all signed a contract specifically waiving their right to class-action arbitration.

If you accept Italian Colors chef-owner Alan Carlson’s characterization of the lawsuit as a case of “David and Goliath” — well, in this instance Goliath won out: The court voted 5 to 3 in favor of American Express, with the conservative majority ruling, essentially, that the contract that Carlson and other restaurant owners had signed took precedence over all other considerations.

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