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Friday, December 14, 2012

Court holds retailers' appeal, First Data to give info

U.S. retailers challenging the proposed $7.2 billion class action settlement of allegations that Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide interchange fees violate U.S. antitrust laws had their attempt to block approval of the preliminary settlement denied Dec. 10, 2012.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals refused the retailers' motion for an expedited hearing and decision on their attempt to overturn preliminary approval. The appellate court also ordered all appeals deferred until after the Eastern District of New York issues its final settlement approval or otherwise concludes the case.

First Data complies with court order

In other settlement news, processor First Data Corp., responding to an Eastern District of New York order, agreed to provide retailers with data the court has declared necessary to the settlement.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) executed July 13, 2012, requires retailers to obtain from acquirers the names and locations of merchants covered by the proposed settlement. The MOU requires the plaintiffs to identify more than 90 percent of merchant transaction volume and 90 percent of merchant outlets covered by the proposed settlement.

First Data, an objector to the proposed settlement, balked at turning over the requested data until it was compelled to do so by the court in an order issued Dec. 10, 2012.

Attorneys negotiating the proposed settlement on behalf of the retailers said that other acquirers have already turned over millions of records and that the plaintiffs have also received Visa and MasterCard data. The massive database obtained in this process will be used to notify merchants in the class "in coming weeks" of the proposed settlement. The data will also be used in the claims administration process.

Attorneys claim data is critical

The retailers' attorneys called the requested First Data information critical to their ability to carry out the court-ordered notice to merchants of the proposed settlement. They explained to the court that the data is particularly important because First Data will also be producing data for a number of U.S. acquirers. The attorneys said they believe those acquirers include iPayment Inc., Santandar, SunTrust Merchant Services, Chase Paymentech Solutions, Bank of America Merchant Services and Citi Merchant Services.

At First Data's request, any information it delivers to the plaintiffs is covered by a protective order that prevents public disclosure of the information. First Data agreed to turn over the information by Dec. 17, 2012. end of article

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