The National ATM Council (NAC), the nation's leading trade association representing U.S. independent ATM providers, yesterday filed an objection with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, asking the Court to require that the proposed class action settlement agreement between certain merchants and Visa/MasterCard be clarified to expressly exclude independent ATM operators and their separate antitrust claims from the class and adjudicated issues encompassed by the proposed settlement.
As the basis for its objection, NAC stated that the proposed settlement was sufficiently vague to be improperly read to encompass the interests of the nation's independent ATM operators, despite the fact that ATM providers have not been parties to the case and no specific ATM issues have been raised in the proceeding or addressed by the terms of the proposed settlement.
Moreover, NAC pointed out to the court that the specific antitrust issues involving anti-competitive conduct by VISA and MasterCard in the ATM industry are the subject of separate and distinct antitrust litigation filed by NAC and a group of named plaintiffs, now pending before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
"NAC is pleased that the proposed settlement by VISA and MasterCard represents an effort to address claimed anti-competitive conduct by these companies in the merchants' setting," said NAC Executive Director Bruce Renard. "Likewise, NAC remains committed to vigorously pursuing relief from the anti-competitive price fixing conduct fostered by these same firms in the ATM sector."
NAC's antitrust class action law suit is being heard by Federal District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a consolidated case now residing before the Federal District Court in Washington D.C. along with several related consumer class action cases filed against VISA and MasterCard for alleged anti-competitive abuse in the context of ATM network and transaction services.