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Three U.S. banks agree to $66 million ATM antitrust deal, class counsel says

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REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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  • Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase agree to settle
  • Visa and MasterCard challenge class certification
  • Class led by Quinn Emanuel, Hagens Berman and Mehri & Skalet

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(Reuters) - Three U.S. banks have agreed to pay $66.7 million to settle consumer antitrust claims alleging a conspiracy to fix ATM charges, say plaintiffs' lawyers seeking preliminary approval of the deal.

In a court filing on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, lead class lawyers at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Mehri & Skalet said Bank of America NA agreed to pay $26.4 million, Wells Fargo & Co will pay $20.8 million, and JPMorgan Chase & Co will pay $19.5 million.

Only the bank defendants have agreed to the proposed settlement resolving consumer claims brought in 2011 that they overpaid surcharges levied on certain transactions at bank-operated ATMs, the plaintiffs' lawyers said.

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Defendants Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc are contesting a class certification order, and the companies' appeal is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The class lawyers and counsel for the three banks did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Tuesday. Lawyers for Visa, represented by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, and MasterCard, represented by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, also didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

The plaintiffs first filed notice of the proposed settlement in October 2020. Their renewed bid filed on Monday with U.S. District Judge Richard Leon followed his order in August granting class certification. He directed the plaintiffs lawyers to refile the proposed settlement.

The plaintiffs urged Leon not to delay his approval of the deal with the banks despite the Visa and MasterCard appeal. The settlement terms said class lawyers would seek up to about 33%, or $22 million, in attorneys' fees.

The case is Mackmin v. Visa Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:11-cv-01831.

For plaintiffs: Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol & Shapiro; Stephen Neuwirth of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan; and Steven Skalet of Mehri & Skalet

For Bank of America: Jessica Kaufman of Morrison & Foerster

For Wells Fargo: Daniel Ruzumna of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler

For JPMorgan Chase: Boris Bershteyn of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

For Visa: Matthew Eisenstein of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

For MasterCard: Kenneth Gallo of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

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