NGA Recommends Opting Out and Objecting to Proposed Settlement

Seven and a half years ago, NGA, at the direction of its board, elected to become a plaintiff in a class action payment card interchange fee and merchant discount antitrust litigation In Re Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation on behalf of NGA and its retail and wholesale grocers. NGA was joined in this litigation by three of its members, Coborn’s Inc., D’Agostino Supermarkets, and Affiliated Foods Midwest, along with Jetro Holdings Inc., Jetro Cash & Carry Enterprises, and five other national trade associations.

On February 10, 2013 the NGA Board voted unanimously for NGA to opt out and object to the proposed settlement and recommend that members also opt out and object.

NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin said “The NGA Board carefully considered not only what is in the  best interests of the retailers and wholesalers it serves, but also all other merchants who will be adversely affected by the proposed settlement.  It is clear to NGA that by deciding to opt out and object to the proposed settlement it sends a clear and unequivocal message that the proposed settlement should be rejected at the fairness hearing on September 12, 2013.”

NGA and others oppose the proposed settlement because in our view it does not achieve the fundamental objective of restructuring and reforming anticompetitive credit card swipe fees and payment rules, and will only make matters worse for consumers and merchants.  From a legal perspective, NGA and others strongly believe the proposed settlement does not meet the standard for being fair, adequate and reasonable.  It is unfair because it violates due process. It is inadequate and unreasonable because of the illusory nature of the relief and overly broad reach of the release from future antitrust violations.

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