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Thousands of Merchants File Briefs Opposing Swipe Fee Settlement

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly 1,200 merchants have joined the majority of named plaintiffs in urging the court to deny preliminary approval to the proposed $7.5 billion swipe fee settlement that's currently on the table.

The proposed settlement, first announced in July, stems from longstanding antitrust lawsuits challenging the interchange fee practices of Visa, MasterCard and the largest banks. The class-action litigation is pending before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.

As CSNews Online previously reported, retailers and trade associations who oppose the deal had until Oct. 31 to file their written objections with the court. Nearly 1,200 merchants filed briefs, joining 10 of the 19 named class plaintiffs who already opposed the deal.

Those named plaintiffs are Affiliated Foods Midwest, Coborn's Inc., D'Agostino Supermarkets, Jetro Holdings LLC, NACS, NATSO, the National Community Pharmacists Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association, National Grocers Association and National Restaurant Association.

Convenience store retailers, including Alon, Cumberland Farms, Giant Eagle, Kum and Go, Kwik Trip, RaceTrac Petroleum and Wawa, are among the 1,200 merchants who filed briefs.

"The vocal opposition from such a substantial and diverse portion of the merchant community demonstrates just how ineffective and unacceptable this proposed settlement is," said Dave Carpenter, president and CEO of J.D. Carpenter Companies and chairman of NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing. "The proposed settlement is simply a bad deal that further entrenches the anticompetitive practices of the Visa and MasterCard duopoly and denies merchants of their legal right to fight for real changes in court."

The court will hold oral arguments regarding preliminary approval on Nov. 9. U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., said last week that the proposed settlement, which requires court approval, appears to meet the threshold for preliminary approval, which could come before the end of the year.

If it receives first preliminary and then final approval, it would be the largest federal antitrust settlement in U.S. history.

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