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Justice Fried

FEDERAL ANTITRUST claims against defendant credit card companies were settled with retailers. Plaintiffs’ proposed class action alleged defendants’ violation of the Donnelly Act – New York’s version of the federal Sherman Anti-Trust Act – and General Business Law §349. They claimed that retailers forced to accept defendants’ debit and credit cards passed the higher debit card transaction costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The court found plaintiffs’ alleged injuries “far too remote to provide antitrust standing under the Donnelly Act” because their complaint apparently covered “all purchases that they made as individual consumers at any retail store that accepts Visa and MasterCard, not merely at the handful of named stores.” It also determined that “if plaintiffs were permitted to bring their §349 claims as a class action . . . the complexity and speculative nature of calculating damages would increase geometrically . . . .”

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