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UK Attorney Wants Permission To Appeal Mastercard Verdict

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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the law firm that lodged a £14 billion consumer collective action against Mastercard, is gearing up to appeal a rejection by the United Kingdom’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in July.

According to a news report by Commercial Dispute Resolution Magazine (CDR), the law firm, which represents Walter Merricks, who brought an action against Mastercard on behalf of thousands of consumers, confirmed an appeal is being sought. Burford Capital bankrolled the original claim but reported it won’t be funding the appeal. The appeal instead is being funded by another well-known player in the industry who hasn’t been identified in the report.

The European Commission ruled Mastercard charged customers illegal interchange fees during a 14-year period, but follow-on claims for damages are seeing varying success in English courts. The potential grounds for appeal could come from contending that CAT erred in its conclusion that the claims aren’t suited for an aggregate award of damages, reported CDR. The second potential grounds for the appeal, noted the report, is that CAT was incorrect to assert the claim, which was brought by 46,000 customers, can’t be a collective proceeding because of the impossibility of distributing damages to individual claimants on a compensatory basis, noted the report.

In a statement to CDR, Quinn Emanuel said that it and Merricks’ legal counsel “have identified manifest errors within the CAT’s reasoning on this issue.” Meanwhile, Merricks said in a statement, “The government decided that a new regime was needed to allow consumers to recover the losses caused to them by illegal, anticompetitive conduct engaged in by big business. If I can establish the total amount of harm that Mastercard has caused to U.K. consumers, then why should consumers then get nothing at all if I cannot calculate the precise loss that each individual consumer suffered?”

Quinn Emanuel did note there is some uncertainty whether it can file an appeal directly to the Court of Appeal or whether it needs to go to the Administrative Court for a judicial review, reported CDR.

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