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US: DoJ drops AmEx antitrust case but 11 States press on

 |  June 4, 2017

Attorneys general from 11 states filed a petition Friday afternoon asking the US Supreme Court to review their case against American Express, which centers on whether the card company can ban merchants from encouraging consumers to use cards that run on competing networks, like Visa and Mastercard.

Also Friday, the Justice Department said it won’t ask the Supreme Court to review its antitrust case against AmEx. “We believe the DOJ’s decision not to proceed sends a strong signal that this seven-year litigation should come to an end,” an AmEx spokesman said in a statement.

Ohio is the lead state in the 48-page states’ petition and is joined by Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont

AmEx card policy says merchants that choose to accept AmEx cards can’t steer consumers into using cards on other networks.

The states along with the US Justice Department were plaintiffs in this case against AmEx when a federal appeals court ruled in favor of AmEx last September. The appeals court reversed a lower-court ruling that said AmEx violated antitrust rules because it didn’t allow stores that accept its cards to encourage shoppers to use cheaper cards. The costs at issue are the fees merchants pay the card company when people use its cards to shop.

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