The ruling is part of a series steps before the $7.2 billion proposed settlement can take effect. The proposed settlement was announced on July 13, 2012, and received preliminary approval in November. It would include a $7.2 billion payout from the banks, but would allow them to violate antitrust laws to merchants’ detriment in the future, according to NACS and the National Retail Federation (NRF).
The majority of the named plaintiffs in the case, including NACS, have rejected the terms of the agreement and plan to continue to reject them. Once the ruling is issued, settlement notices will be distributed to retailers. Retailers will then have the opportunity to opt out and/or object, NACS noted.
“This proposal benefits no one but lawyers and credit card companies, and should not be forced on the retail industry or retailers’ customers,” said National Retail Federation (NRF) Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan in November. “It’s a morass of legal flaws, and rather than bringing about reform it would only entrench the anticompetitive behavior of the card companies while putting them beyond the reach of the law. It should be rejected on its face.”
“We remain convinced that this is a bad deal and we will look at our options to appeal this decision. This bad deal should not be forced upon the vast majority of merchants—and their customers—who do not want it,” said NACS President and CEO Hank Armour, when the settlement received preliminary approval in November.