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Interchange Lawsuit Watch

New York City, Ajudge in California has thrown out a lawsuit brought by small merchants in the state against Visa and MasterCard over interchange fees. The merchants had hoped to establish a class action and alleged that the card associations violated antitrust laws in setting the fees. Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed the claims and said the facts didn’t show price fixing.

“Judge White’s decision should send a strong message to class-action plaintiffs’ lawyers who have recently sought to bring similar actions against MasterCard and our members,” Noah Hanft, MasterCard’s general counsel, said in a statement. Lawyers for the merchants plan to appeal.

The case is independent of a similar lawsuit filed in July by Kroger and other major retailers against Visa.

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