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Arbitration Backed as Court Rules for American Express

The U.S. Supreme Court reinforced companies’ power to funnel legal disputes into arbitration, ruling in favor of American Express Co. in an antitrust clash with retailers over the credit cards they must accept.

The justices, voting 5-3, said merchants seeking to sue American Express are bound by an agreement they signed to pursue disputes individually before an arbitrator. A federal appeals court had refused to enforce the arbitration accord, saying its bar on class actions would make it infeasible for the merchants to press their claims.