Update on Interchange Fee Settlement
December 20, 2019
Interchange Fee Settlement:
Final Approval Order Signed
Recently, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York gave final approval to the multi-billion dollar settlement of the Visa/MasterCard antitrust litigation. The Court’s approval order can be viewed here. All class members who did not opt-out of the class by the July 23, 2019 deadline comprise a settlement class of all merchants that accepted Visa and MasterCard transaction cards during the relevant period. By remaining in the class, all such class members have released Visa and MasterCard for all antitrust liability for the period, and their only recourse now is to file for reimbursement from the settlement fund.
At the November 7, 2019 hearing at which the Court considered the objections to the settlement filed by class members, the Court indicated an intent to appoint a special master to determine whether franchisors (major branded suppliers) or franchisees (like branded wholesalers and retailers) or both, will be the recipients of settlement funds based on branded transactions at wholesaler and retailer locations. Many objectors urged the Court to make this decision before (and not after) final approval. It is likely that the Court’s final approval will be appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on, among other things, the ground that the above-referenced decision should have been made before final approval before class members had to decide whether to stay in or opt-out of the class and before those who stayed in the class were required to release their claims against Visa and MasterCard.
It is anticipated that there will be various appeals from the final approval, on a number of different grounds, and that no distribution will take place until the appeals are resolved. TFFA will keep its members apprised of the progress of these appeals. In the meantime (as stated above) a special master will hear claims from branded refiners, and from branded wholesalers and retailers, and decide whether wholesalers and retailers will be eligible to receive settlement money.
For questions, contact
Scott Fisher, Sr. Vice President of Policy & Public Affairs,
512.617.4308 / firstname.lastname@example.org.