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Supreme Court Denies Visa and Mastercard’s Bid to Review ATM Pricing Case

 |  April 15, 2024

The US Supreme Court has rejected a request by Visa and Mastercard to review class certification in a case revolving around allegations of ATM fee fixing. The case, which accuses the credit card giants of manipulating the prices of fees at automated teller machines (ATMs), has seen a significant development as the highest court declined to intervene as reported by Bloomberg.

Visa and Mastercard had sought Supreme Court review following a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. This ruling upheld a district court’s decision to certify three classes of ATM owners and customers who are pursuing substantial damages from the card companies.

The heart of the matter lies in whether the district court’s certification of the plaintiff classes was appropriate. This involves assessing whether common facts among class members outweigh individual concerns, as outlined by the Rule 23 predominance method. The interpretation and application of this method vary among different courts, leading to what Visa and Mastercard referred to as “rampant confusion.”

Related: Mastercard to Increase Credit Card Fees Despite Recent $30 Billion Settlement

The case originated from claims by ATM operators and consumer groups, asserting that Visa and Mastercard engaged in anti-competitive behavior by orchestrating an illicit agreement to control ATM prices and stifle competition between ATM networks. As the owners and operators of networks facilitating cash withdrawals, Visa and Mastercard faced accusations of monopolistic practices.

Visa and Mastercard vehemently contested the appellate court’s decision to uphold class certification. They argued that there was insufficient common evidence to prove injury for all members of the certified classes and that the inclusion of tens of thousands of potentially uninjured plaintiffs was unwarranted.

However, the D.C. Circuit countered this argument, stating that the district court’s certification order was based on sound legal principles and evidentiary assessments. The decision, they maintained, did not suffer from substantive inadequacies or legal errors.

Throughout the legal battle, the case has drawn attention from various quarters. The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy, advocating for defense lawyers and their clients, supported Visa and Mastercard’s petition in a February amicus brief. They warned that allowing the decision to stand could embolden district courts to certify plaintiff classes indiscriminately.

Represented by prominent law firms Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, Visa and Mastercard now face the continuation of the case as it proceeds through the legal system.

Source: News Bloomberg Law