Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I get a Settlement Notice?

    The Settlement Notice explains the litigation, the settlement, your legal rights and what benefits are available.

    Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York is overseeing the case known as In re American Express Anti-Steering Rules Antitrust Litigation (II), No. 11-MD-2221 (NGG)(RER), along with the case known as The Marcus Corporation v American Express Co. et al., 13-cv-07355 (NGG)(RER), which was transferred to Judge Garaufis in connection with the settlement approval process. For a complete procedural history of the cases included in the settlement, please read the Class Settlement Agreement.

    On February 4, 2014, the Court preliminarily approved the settlement; certified an “injunctive” class under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2); approved a plan for notifying class members of the settlement and the opportunity to file objections; and created a mechanism for granting final approval of all terms of the Class Settlement Agreement. On August 4, 2015, the Court issued an order denying final approval of the settlement. This means the case is no longer settled.

    This case has been brought on behalf of merchants. The specific merchants that filed the cases are the “Class Plaintiffs” and the Court has authorized them to act on behalf of all merchants in the class in connection with the proposed settlement of the litigation. The Class Plaintiffs are: The Marcus Corporation, Animal Land, Inc., Firefly Air Solutions, LLC, Il Forno, Inc., Italian Colors Restaurant, Jasa Inc., Lopez-Dejonge, Inc., and Plymouth Oil Corp.

    The Class Plaintiffs sued American Express Company and American Express Travel Related Services, Inc., which are referred to together in this Notice as “American Express” or “Defendants.”

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  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    The lawsuit is about American Express’s rules for merchants that accept American Express cards as payment for goods and/or services and the fees paid by merchants for accepting American Express cards. Class Plaintiffs claim that American Express violated the antitrust laws by imposing rules that limited merchants from steering their customers to other payment methods and requiring merchants that want to accept any American Express cards to accept all American Express cards. The Class Plaintiffs claim that doing so insulated American Express from competitive pressure to lower merchant fees and caused an upward spiral in merchant fees for American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

    American Express denies Class Plaintiffs’ claims and says it has done nothing wrong. American Express says that the challenged conduct was lawful, justified, and benefited competition, merchants, and consumers.

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  3. Why is this a class action?

    In a class action, one or more individuals or businesses sue on behalf of people or businesses with similar claims. Together all of these people or businesses with similar claims and interests form a class, and are class members.

    When a court decides a case or approves a settlement in a class action, that decision is applicable to all members of the class.

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  4. What happens now that the settlement has not been approved?

    The litigation will continue as though the settlement had never existed. The ongoing litigation may include new settlement discussions with American Express, mediation and trial.

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  5. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    Yes. The law firms identified below represent you and other class members:

    Lead Counsel
    Michael Hausfeld
    Hausfeld, LLP
    1700 K Street, NW
    Suite 650
    Washington, DC 20006
    Executive Committee
    Mark Reinhardt
    Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield
    1250 East First National Bank Building
    332 Minnesota Street
    St. Paul, MN 55101

    Vincent Esades
    Heins Mills & Olson, PLC
    310 Clifton Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55403

    These lawyers are called “Class Counsel.” You will not be charged for these lawyers or for other counsel involved in the case. Any attorneys’ fees, reimbursement of expenses and service awards to the Class Plaintiffs that are awarded by the Court will be paid directly by American Express. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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  6. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    The Fairness Hearing was on September 17, 2014, at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York 11201. On August 4, 2015, following the fairness hearing and additional briefing, the Court decided not to grant final approval of the settlement

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  7. How do I get more information?

    Important case documents are available on this web page. You also may write with questions to Amex Merchant Settlement Administrator, PO Box 4349, Portland, OR 97208-4349 or send an email to AmexQuestions@rwblawfirm.com.

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