Judge Approves $7.25 Billion Settlement with Visa, MasterCard and Major U.S. Banks for Alleged Anticompetitive Practices and Price Fixing In Setting Interchange Fees

MINNEAPOLIS, December 13, 2013 — Judge John Gleeson of the United States District Court Eastern District of New York today approved the historic antitrust settlement of $7.25 billion between a class of over 8 million U.S. merchants who accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards and debit cards, and Visa, MasterCard and Major U.S. banks. The settlement is with payment card networks Visa and MasterCard and with card-issuing banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Capital One and other major banks.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. reached the settlement on July 13, 2012. After a fairness hearing held September 12, 2013, the judge has today concluded that the settlement “which is recommended by experienced and competent counsel,” easily meets the standard for approval. The motion for fees and costs will be decided separately. A status conference regarding the next steps in the case shall be held on January 10, 2014.

“We are very gratified that Judge Gleeson has found the settlement to be worthy of final approval, and that he found that the objections were ill-founded. We look forward to the next steps in finally consummating the settlement and getting the funds into the hands of the members of the class,” said K. Craig Wildfang, the partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. who led the case for the Class Plaintiffs as co-lead counsel, along with Thomas Undlin, also a partner at the firm.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. filed the case in 2005, and was appointed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, along with two other law firms, to represent the class in the case. The settlement that has now resolved the case is believed to be the largest ever settlement of a private antitrust case under the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. §1 et seq.).  

The case is In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Litigation, 05-MD-1720 (JG)(JO). The other two co-lead counsel law firms that represent the class of merchants are Berger & Montague, P.C. and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP.