The companies asked the justices to overturn a May ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the civil suit could proceed. The Supreme Court is letting that ruling stand, which means the class-action lawsuit involving thousands of consumers with complaints against the companies will be litigated in federal district court.
Originally filed by one consumer in northern California, the lawsuit claims the companies’ joint venture violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, which is usually used in organized crime cases. Successful RICO claims provide for triple damage awards in civil cases.