Visa, MasterCard Urge Approval of Settlement, Despite Attorney Misconduct
Visa, MasterCard and certain banks currently involved in litigation with a number of retailers are fighting to keep a $7.25 billion settlement deal alive after it was revealed that an attorney for MasterCard shared confidential information with an attorney for the plaintiffs. The shared information was related to the litigation and led several retailers, including Walmart, Home Depot, Amazon and Target, to urge the New York federal judge in the case to throw out the settlement this past July. If approved, the settlement would be an important step to the resolution of a longstanding dispute over allegations that the interchange fees charged by the credit card companies were anticompetitive.
According to Visa and MasterCard, the bad actions of the two attorneys should not taint the settlement because the two attorneys in question were not lead counsel in the case, and the actual lead attorneys for both sides never were made aware of the improper activities.
For their part, the retailers continued to argue that the improper communication tainted the settlement because illicit behavior involved a MasterCard attorney and a plaintiff’s attorney that played a substantial role in the case. For this reason, the retailers urged the court to reject the proposed settlement.