Alexandra Kay | Bloomberg Law United States v. American Express Co., No. 10-cv-04496 (E.D.N.Y. Jul. 20, 2011) The Proposed Final Judgment settling claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against Visa, MasterCard, American Express Company, and American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. for violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 was in the public interest, according to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. According to the complaint, the defendants' anti-steering rules illegally restrained trade by limiting the kinds of discounts that merchants could offer to customers. With the complaint, the DOJ filed a notice of settlement and Proposed Final Judgment as to MasterCard and Visa. Pursuant to the Tunney Act, 15 U.S.C. § 16, the DOJ published the Proposed Final Judgment in several newspapers to solicit public comments. During the sixty-day public comment period, the DOJ received six comments. Before approving the agreement, the court considered whether the settlement served the "public interest," as required by the Tunney Act. Under the Proposed Final Judgment, Visa and MasterCard must alter their contracts with merchants to allow merchants to offer discounts to consumers if they use alternate forms of payment, including other credit cards. Merchants will also be able to inform consumers about Visa's and MasterCard's transaction fees. Six groups submitted public comments to the proposed judgment: the action's Class Plaintiffs; the action's Individual Merchant Plaintiffs; Consumer World, a public service consumer education website; Sears Holding Corp.; and a group of individual merchant plaintiffs whose cases were consolidated. The public comments from three of these groups were "overwhelmingly positive if not enthusiastic," while the remaining three groups provided "lukewarm" comments. American Express at 4, 5. Notably, none of the comments expressed disapproval of the Proposed Final Judgment. The court found that the DOJ demonstrated that the Proposed Final Judgment furthers the public interest "by removing the anticompetitive impact of Visa's and MasterCard's anti-steering rules. . . and alleviates the public's 'specific injury from the violations set forth in the complaint.'" Id. at 7. Because the final judgment was being entered on consent, the court noted that Visa and MasterCard will have effectively waived their rights to appeal.Disclaimer This document and any discussions set forth herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice, which has to be addressed to particular facts and circumstances involved in any given situation. Review or use of the document and any discussions does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author or publisher. To the extent that this document may contain suggested provisions, they will require modification to suit a particular transaction, jurisdiction or situation. Please consult with an attorney with the appropriate level of experience if you have any questions. Any tax information contained in the document or discussions is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code. Any opinions expressed are those of the author. The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. and its affiliated entities do not take responsibility for the content in this document or discussions and do not make any representation or warranty as to their completeness or accuracy. ©2014 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All rights reserved. Bloomberg Law Reports ® is a registered trademark and service mark of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).