Title II of the Civil Rights Act, along with its counterpart state laws, have protected the rights of racial minorities in the United States for decades. Section 1981 has guaranteed contract rights for all people, regardless of race, since 1868. But times are changing. Racial discrimination claims against 21st century technology companies face challenges when brought under existing laws. Even the relatively current Communications Decency Act (CDA) is unhelpful to consumers attempting to seek redress from online platforms. In this article, we analyze the only cases of consumer discrimination brought against providers of the sharing economy and highlight some of the obstacles faced by plaintiffs. Next, we evaluate state and federal laws commonly relied upon by plaintiffs in traditional consumer discrimination cases. Our unique contribution involves a detailed review of outcomes of claims at various stages of litigation from motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment to trials and appeals in both state and federal court. The study’s results provide lawyers, practitioners, and policymakers with information about litigants’ success rates and inform our proposals for amending the law to accommodate consumer discrimination claims against online platforms.
Anne-Marie Hakstian, Jerome D. Williams, and Sam Taddeo
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Online Platforms and Consumer Equality,
48 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol48/iss1/11