(CN) – Visa and Mastercard sought the approval Tuesday of a $6.2 billion settlement that would end an antitrust class action that has for 13 years accused them of charging exorbitant swipe fees.
“The monetary settlement for the merchant class – as much as approximately $6.26 billion but no less than approximately $5.56 billion – was negotiated at arm’s length by highly experienced antitrust counsel with the assistance of two nationally recognized mediators who have mediated this case over the past decade,” the 42-page memo filed in the Eastern District of New York states.
If approved by U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie, the deal would end the spate of more than 40 class actions lawsuits that have been pouring into federal courts since June 2005.
Consolidated later that year, the cases spawned mountains of paperwork. Attorneys for the merchants estimated the case's record at 65 million pages.
Bloomberg reported earlier today that the proposed deal would be the largest class action settlement in an antitrust case.
In 2016, the Second Circuit rejected an earlier attempt at a settlement approved by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, who resigned from the bench that year. The appellate court found the deal unfair to the merchants.
When the case returned to Brodie’s court, the judge remarked that the merchants’ attorneys served their clients well.
“The court found that class counsel were ‘eminently qualified’ and had demonstrated that they were ‘in the best position to continue to represent the interests in the damages class’ through their cooperative work ‘with the court and with the other non-lead counsel,’” attorney Alexandra Bernay, from the San Diego-based firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, wrote in a memo in support of the settlement.
Mastercard’s general counsel Tim Murphy called the proposed settlement “a significant step toward closing a chapter in a longstanding case.”
“We can put this behind us and focus on continuing to innovate with our merchant partners to deliver the convenience and experience that consumers expect,” Murphy added in a statement.
Representatives for Visa did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
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