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AmEx's $50M Payout In Currency Fee Suit Gets Judge's OK

Posted: May 2, 2012
Source: Law360
Practice Areas: Antitrust

A New York federal judge Monday signed off on American Express Co.'s $49.5 million deal to settle class claims that the credit card giant conspired with banks to impose hidden foreign currency conversion fees on customers.

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The settlement came last year after U.S. District Judge William Pauley III in March 2011 denied AmEx's motion for summary judgment, ruling that a reasonable jury could rule in favor of the class on their claims.

The plaintiffs used Visa and MasterCard credit cards issued by a slew of banks that allegedly conspired with AmEx, and they were assessed a foreign transaction fee for using the cards to purchase items priced in foreign currencies. Their suit claimed that the credit card companies had violated federal antitrust laws.

The judge also found that the plaintiffs had provided sufficient evidence to potentially convince a jury that AmEx had a motive to enter a price-fixing conspiracy and that it had engaged in frequent communications with its alleged co-conspirators prior to changing its fees.

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