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Discovered Emails Between Opposing Lawyers May Ruin Settlement
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Visa MasterCard

Summary: Billion dollar settlements between merchants and major card companies MasterCard, Visa, and American Express are coming undone after communication was discovered between the opposing lawyers.

Emails have been discovered between close friends and opposing lawyers in a contentious $6 billion class-action antitrust settlement. Keila Ravelo represented MasterCard Inc. in the antitrust case against merchants over the setting of interchange fees for consumers that use debit or credit cards. Gary Friedman represented the merchants in the case.


Ravelo and Friedman were colleagues earlier in their careers. During the time of the class-action Ravelo was a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Friedman was with the Friedman Law Group LLC. Willkie Farr was the one to discover the emails.

The merchants, including stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and 7-Eleven, will formally announce that they will undo the pact. They argue that the discovered communications between the lawyers included confidential information, making the representation they received by the lawyer inadequate.

Another settlement between American Express Co and most of the same merchants for $79 million will probably come unraveled as well. Friedman represented the merchants in both cases. He earned a $32 million fee in just the Visa-Mastercard case. Now the merchants want to see that money returned to the settlement fund.

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The new law firm representing MasterCard noted that they emails “indicate that its former partner and Mr. Friedman may have violated protective orders, improperly disclosed confidential information and otherwise made improper and inappropriate communications.”




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