In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation
Our attorneys represents Visa in a multi-district antitrust litigation in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The litigation includes both a putative class action and individual suits filed by merchants, which include a number of the nation’s largest merchants. In these cases, the plaintiffs challenge the default interchange fees set in the Visa (and MasterCard) systems as well as various rules that apply to merchant conduct, such as Visa’s rules prohibiting merchants from imposing surcharges on customers who use Visa-branded payment cards. The plaintiffs assert claims for price-fixing, attempted monopolization, monopolization, and other restraints of trade. In 2012, the parties entered into a settlement of the class actions for more than US$6 billion and modification of certain Visa and MasterCard rules. The district court approved the class settlement and objectors to the class settlement appealed, asserting that the settlement was too favorable to Visa and other defendants. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed on the ground that class counsel had a conflict in representing both settlement classes and returned the class actions to the District Court for further proceedings. In September 2018, defendants entered into an amended settlement agreement with a class seeking damages, subject to court approval. Hundreds of merchants have sued in individual non-class actions, and the firm has negotiated settlements in many of those actions and continues to litigate the remaining actions.