December 16, 2013

Settlement believed to the largest-ever antitrust settlement in U.S. history.

On December 13, Judge John Gleeson in the Eastern District of New York approved the settlement agreement reached by Willkie client MasterCard, along with Visa and 13 of the nation’s largest banks, with a class of about 12 million merchants in a multidistrict class action litigation involving antitrust allegations of price fixing, tying, monopolization and exclusive dealing against the U.S. credit card industry. The approved settlement resolves eight years of litigation challenging the payment card networks’ setting of certain transaction fees and maintaining certain rules governing merchant acceptance of MasterCard and Visa payment cards and is intended to fully address the merchants’ antitrust or other competitive issues presented by the MasterCard and Visa networks in the U.S. Defendants obtained broad releases which the court determined were "essential to providing defendants the peace they legitimately expect in return for the settlement of claims." Further information regarding the settlement is available here.

Willkie served as co-counsel to MasterCard in In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, case number 1:05-md-01720, (E.D.N.Y). The Willkie team was led by partners Wesley R. Powell and Matthew Freimuth, and associates G. Shireen Hilal, Alex Cheney, Nicole Naples, Elizabeth Roache and Maureen Kellett, along with legal assistant Chris Brancato. The Willkie team continues to represent MasterCard in the appeals of Judge Gleeson’s decision and in follow-on litigation brought by merchants who excluded themselves from the class.