Wal-Mart Stores Inc. revealed last July its dissatisfaction with the settlement and its pledge to prompt other merchants to reject it as well.
New York, New York (PRWEB) May 20, 2013
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP and its co-counsels – Duncan Firm P.A. and Thrash Law Firm P.A., both based in Little Rock, Arkansas – have filed an objection to the final approval of the proposed $7.25 billion settlement of a price-fixing case against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. over credit-card transaction fees. The objection was filed Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The related lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard (Case No. 1:05-md-1720) is titled In Re: Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation.
According to a May 15, 2013, Bloomberg report, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. revealed last July its dissatisfaction with the settlement and its pledge to prompt other merchants to reject it as well. The Bloomberg article added that Little Rock, the state capital and base of department-store chain Dillard’s Inc., also is against the settlement, as is the city of Oakland, California. According to Bloomberg, hundreds of objections have been filed – from retailers and merchants both small and large – since U.S. District Judge John Gleeson gave his preliminary sign-off of the settlement agreement in November 2012.
According to the court papers filed with the objection, the retailers and merchants opposing passage of the settlement agreement are the same ones that were originally named in the Retailers & Merchants Objection to Proposed Class Settlement Agreement [Document 1653], filed on October 18, 2012 (the “R&M Objectors”), plus additional retailers and merchants that oppose final approval after receiving notice of the settlement.
The businesses represented in this objection are a diverse group, the court papers revealed, which includes restaurants, clothing stores, oil and gas companies, and convenience stores, among other types of tradesmen, and are located in numerous states, including New York, Vermont, Maryland, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. These retailers and merchants, which sell goods to consumers in exchange for credit card payments, pay interchange (“swipe”) fees.
Reasons for the objection to this proposed class settlement are as follows, according to the court papers: The settlement proposes to bind absent class members and release any future claims related to the swipe fees, while providing immunity to Visa/MasterCard and member banks for future anti-competitive behavior; it also releases Visa/MasterCard from liability for conduct unrelated to matters litigated in this case; and it provides illusory, non-uniform and class-wide relief via a surcharge, which many absent class members won’t impose on customers.
Additionally, according to the court papers, the settlement violates class members' due process rights by not providing them with a legitimate right to opt-out. The papers also noted that United States Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois had expressed on the Senate floor: “This proposed settlement does not make our credit card system better. Instead, it gives Visa and MasterCard free reign to carry on their anti-competitive swipe-fee system with no real constraints and no legal accountability to the millions of American businesses that are forced to pay their fees. This is a stunning giveaway to Visa and MasterCard, all for a payout of a mere two months' worth of swipe fees. This is a bad deal.”
“This lawsuit is comprised of the objection of the small retailers that make up the backbone of the American mercantile system. It’s the store on the corner, the local car dealer, and the place where you buy the everyday items that make charge card use so easy and valuable,” said Jerrold S. Parker, Founding Partner of Parker Waichman LLP. “Even farmers and factory workers carry charge cards, just like the big-city company executives. The difference is that the farmer and the factory worker pay those balances themselves, so any extra charges imposed on them directly impact their lives.”
Parker Waichman LLP has joined with Duncan Firm P.A. and Thrash Law Firm P.A. to represent retailers and merchants that object to final approval of the proposed $7.25 billion settlement of the price-fixing case against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. over credit-card transaction fees. If you are a retailer or merchant and want to join this group of businesses working to stop final approval of this settlement, please contact us at yourlawyer.com or by calling 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636).
Contact: Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney