• Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Slave Descendants Class Action Litigation
  • March 5, 2007 | Author: Michael T. Brody
  • Law Firm: Jenner & Block LLP - Chicago Office
  • A variety of suits seeking monetary damages under federal and state law for harms stemming from the  slavery in America were consolidated by the multidistrict panel. The district court dismissed the claims with  prejudice, and the Seventh Circuit has in large part affirmed. In re African-American Slave Descendants  Litig., 471 F.3d 754 (7th Cir. Dec. 13, 2006). The court agreed that wrongs directed against the plaintiffs’  ancestors did not create standing in the present plaintiffs. The court also found the claim that the plaintiffs would have profited as heirs of the enslaved individuals to be too remote to support a claim, and that claims brought by plaintiffs as legal representatives of former slaves to be barred by the statute of limitations. The court reversed, however, the dismissal of consumer protection claims, which alleged current consumers were deceived because the corporate defendants did not disclose their prior involvement in slavery. The  court expressed its view that while consumer protection laws do not require a defendant to identify every  conceivable bad fact about itself, the merits of those claims should be left for further proceedings.