Case Status
Active
Class Certified
Settlement Amount
$66.7 Million (Banks)
Position
Co-Lead Counsel
Practice Areas
Court
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Judge Assigned
Hon. Richard J. Leon
Defendant(S)
Visa, Inc.
Mastercard, Inc.
Stock Symbol
NYSE: V and NYSE: MA
File Date

ATM ANTITRUST LAWSUIT EXPLAINED

Hagens Berman filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Visa and MasterCard, together with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, violated federal antitrust laws by establishing uniform agreements with U.S. banks that issue automated teller machine (ATM) cards, preventing ATM operators from setting ATM access fees below the level of the fees charged on Visa’s and MasterCard’s networks. These agreements allegedly eliminate competition in the marketplace for ATM network services, causing ATM fees to be higher than they should be.   

The lawsuit asked the court to issue an injunction preventing Visa and MasterCard from enforcing fee restrictions on ATMs. The suit also sought damages for the allegedly higher prices consumers were forced to pay to use ATMs across the country.

HOW THE CLASS ACTION PROGRESSED

The District Court dismissed the complaint and denied plaintiffs’ request to amend it. Plaintiffs appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court held oral arguments on the appeal in February 2015, and made the decision to reverse the dismissal of the case. In November 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal from Visa and Mastercard to overturn the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision.

In October 2020, Hagens Berman reached a settlement agreement with the banks valued at $66.7 million on behalf of consumers, but in October 2021, Visa and Mastercard appealed a federal judge’s class certification in the case. Defendants asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reevaluate the certification. In July 2023, the Circuit Court reaffirmed the federal judge’s class certification, and Visa and Mastercard petitioned the court to reconsider. In September 2023, the Circuit Court announced that it would not rehear its order upholding the class certification, and the case will proceed toward trial.

CASE TIMELINE

Motion Filed for Preliminary Approval of $197.5M Settlement with Visa and Mastercard

On May 29, 2024, Hagens Berman filed a motion for preliminary approval of a $197.5 million settlement in antitrust litigation accusing Visa and Mastercard of price-fixing ATM transaction fees. If approved, the settlement would bring the total recovery to $264.2 million, following a $66.74 million settlement with Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo finally approved in 2022.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Defendants’ Bid for Review

On April 15 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court denied to hear an appeal from Visa and Mastercard to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirming certification to three classes of ATM customers and owners. Visa and Mastercard have been battling claims that their ATM fee rules violate antitrust laws since 2011, and this marks the second time the ATM fee dispute has been before the Supreme Court.

Circuit Court Declines to Review Class Certification En Banc

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined Visa and Mastercard’s petition to rehear its order upholding the federal judge’s class certification in this case.

Circuit Court Upholds Class Certification

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the federal judge’s class certification.

$66.74M Settlement Approved

On Aug. 8, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon approved a $66.74 million settlement reached with Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo.

Visa and Mastercard Appeal Class Certification

Visa and Mastercard appealed the federal judge’s class certification.

Federal Judge Grants Class Certification

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon rejected Visa and Mastercard’s arguments against class certification, and certified a class of ATM operators who had unlawfully been overcharged for network fees and two consumer classes who had been overcharged for access fees at ATM terminals.

Settlement Reached Against Banks

$66.7 Million Settlement Reached Against Big Banks in ATM Fee-Fixing Class-Action Lawsuit

Steve Berman said, "Not only is this settlement a tremendous return for consumers, it also serves as a reminder that transparency and fairness are standards that cannot be skirted without a heavy penalty."

U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Visa and Mastercard’s Petition to Overturn Circuit Court Revival

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a petition from Visa and Mastercard to overturn the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision to revive the class action. 

Dismissal Reversed

D.C. Circuit Court Reverses Dismissal of ATM Price Fixing Class Action

Steve Berman said, "This is a big win for consumers, as we believe this case will bring not only damages caused by the anti-competitive acts of Visa and MasterCard, but also an injunction that will spark competition in the ATM market."

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