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Court Delays Swipe Fee Settlement Appeals

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An appeals court won’t take up the controversial $7.25 billion settlement of an antitrust lawsuit over Visa and MasterCard swipe fees until after a federal judge in New York issues his final ruling. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ order came in an appeal, brought by The Home Depot, of a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson giving preliminary approval to the settlement.

In addition to denying The Home Depot’s request, the court said other merchants seeking to appeal the preliminary ruling should not file briefs until after Gleeson rules on final approval. The ruling therefore sidetracks a separate appeal filed by a group of merchant and trade association plaintiffs in the case that rejected the settlement after it failed to achieve significant remedies to stop swipe fees from increasing. NRF had planned to support that appeal.

NRF, like The Home Depot, was not a party to the lawsuit but represents more than 9,000 merchants who would be affected under the class action. NRF has vigorously opposed the settlement, and has been exploring its legal options in response to Gleeson’s preliminary approval.