Monday
Mar252013

Update: March 2013

Update: March 2013

BC Action:

The plaintiff and the defendants in the BC Action have completed exchangeof certification materials and cross-examinations. Chief Justice Bauman will hear the plaintiff’s certification application in the week of April 22, 2013. At that hearing, the Chief Justice will consider whether or not the action should be given official “class action” status so that it will bind and benefit all members of the class.

While the most recent version of the BC Action only proposes to include residents of British Columbia in its class, it is hoped that a positive result of the certification application in the BC Action would guide the outcomes in other provinces. This is not guaranteed, however, and actions have been filed in other provinces to ensure the interests of all Canadian merchants are protected and their claims are advanced.

 

Ontario Action:

By agreement of the parties and with the approval of its case management judge, the Ontario Action has been held in abeyance pending the outcome of the certification application in the BC Action.. The plaintiff has provided regular updates to the case management judge in Ontario.

 

Quebec Action:

By agreement of the parties and with the approval of its case management judge, the Quebec Action has been suspended until June 21, 2013 to allow  the certification application in the BC Action to proceed first. The plaintiff has provided regular updates to the case management judge in Quebec.

 

Alberta Action:

An action was filed in Alberta on December 12, 2013. The Alberta Statement of Claim is available in the Documents section of this website.

A competing overlapping action was filed in Alberta and in Saskatchewan by the Merchant Law Group. There will be a hearing before Associate Chief Justice Rooke to determine which of the two claims will be allowed to proceed in Alberta. That hearing will take place on April 3 and 4, 2013.

 

Saskatchewan Action:

An action was filed in Saskatchewan on January 24, 2013. The Saskatchewan Statement of Claim is available in the Documents section of this website.

A competing overlapping action was filed in Saskatchewan by the Merchant Law Group. We expect there will be a hearing in Saskatchewan in the near future to determine which of the two claims will be allowed to proceed in Saskatchewan.

Tuesday
Mar272012

Update: Spring 2012

On January 31, 2012, Chief Justice Bauman of the Supreme Court of British Columbia issued a ruling (2012 BCSC 146) that the defendants' motion to strike the plaintiff's pleadings on various grounds should not proceed before the plaintiff's motion for certification.

Since then, the plaintiff and defenants have agreed on a certification schedule that will see a certification hearing on the week of April 22, 2013.

We have proposed that the action will go forward in BC, while the Ontario Action and Quebec Action be held in abeyance pending the outcome of certification in BC. While the BC Action only proposes to include residents of British Columbia, it is hoped that the result of the BC Action will guide the outcome in other provinces. This is not guaranteed, however. Therefore, actions have been filed in other provinces, as discussed below.

 

Ontario Action:

There have been no developments in the Ontario Action. Madam Justice Horkins, case management judge for the Ontario Action, has agreed to allow the action to proceed first in BC for the time being.

Class members in Ontario should be aware that the outcome in the BC Action will not necessarily be the same as the outcome in the Ontario Action.

 

Quebec Action:

A similar action was filed in Quebec in December 2010. The lawyer for the plaintiffs in Quebec has agreed to work with the lawyers in the BC and Ontario Actions. The Motion to Authorize the Bringing of a Class Action is available on the Documents page. It is presently intended that the Quebec Action will await the results of the hearings in BC.

Class members in Quebec should be aware that the outcome in the BC Action will not necessarily be the same as the outcome in the Quebec Action.

Monday
Jan302012

Update: February 2012

Overview:

This update will provide an overview of developments in the proposed Canadian class actions against Visa, MasterCard, and various banks concerning interchange fees. This page will be updated regularly with the latest information in each of the three actions.

BC Action:

Chief Justice Bauman of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has been assigned as the Case Management Judge and will oversee the action going forward. To date, three case planning conferences have been held before Chief Justice Bauman.

The plaintiff has filed her materials for an application for the certification of the action as a class proceeding. If the Court agrees to certify the action, it will be allowed to go forward as a class proceeding. The plaintiff’s materials for certification are available in the Documents section.

The defendants have filed an application to have the notice of civil claim struck out in whole or in part. The defendants’ materials for their application to strike are available in the Documents section.

On January 10, 2012, the Court heard an application to decide whether the defendants’ application to strike should be heard before the plaintiff’s certification application or at the same time. Chief Justice Bauman is still considering this question.

The lawyers for both sides have agreed that the action will go forward in BC, while the Ontario Action and Quebec Action are held in abeyance pending the outcome of certification in BC. While the BC Action only proposes to include residents of British Columbia, it is hoped that the result of the BC Action will guide the outcome in other provinces. This is not gauranteed, however. Therefore, actions have been filed in other provinces, as discussed below.

Quebec Action:

A similar action was filed in Quebec in December 2010. The lawyer for the plaintiffs in Quebec has agreed to work with the lawyers in the BC and Ontario Actions. The Motion to Authorize the Bringing of a Class Action is available on the Documents page. It is presently intended that the Quebec Action will await the results of the hearings in BC.

Ontario Action:

In May 2011, a similar action was filed in Ontario. The lawyers for the plaintiff in the BC action are also the lawyers for the plaintiff in Ontario. The Statement of Claim is available on the Documents page. The proposed Ontario class seeks to cover the rest of the country not covered by the BC and Quebec Actions.

Madam Justice Horkins has been assigned as the case management judge. On January 30, 2012, a case planning conference was held before Madam Justice Horkins. She agreed to allow the action to proceed in BC rather than in Ontario for the time being.

Potential class members in Ontario should be aware that the outcome in the BC Action will not necessarily be the same as the outcome in the Ontario Action.

Monday
Mar282011

Class Action Filed Against Visa, Mastercard, and Leading Banks Over Alleged Price Fixing Conspiracy

VANCOUVER (March 29, 2011) -- Branch MacMaster LLP and Camp Fiorante Matthews filed a proposed national class action in the British Columbia Supreme Court against Visa, MasterCard, and several leading banks. The claim alleges that the credit card giants and banks have engaged in a multi-billion dollar price fixing conspiracy to increase or maintain the fees paid by merchants on every credit card transaction.

When a customer pays with a credit card, Visa and MasterCard take a percentage fee, along with the card-issuing bank and the company that processes the payment. That percentage varies depending on what kind of card is used. Basic cards charge a smaller percentage, while premium credit cards that offer points and other rewards cost merchants a much higher fee.

The claim alleges that Visa and MasterCard rules force merchants to accept every Visa or MasterCard credit card, even if those cards carry high fees for the merchant. The claim also alleges that these rules prevent merchants from charging more for payments with premium cards.

Ward Branch, partner at Branch MacMaster LLP said, “The lawsuit alleges that merchants are forced to raise prices for all customers to cover the cost of transactions with premium cards. Our research suggests that these fees cost Canadian merchants $5 billion in 2009 alone. The system is bad for Canadian merchants, Canadian consumers, and for the Canadian economy as a whole.”

The suit follows a filing by the Competition Bureau of Canada, which seeks to prevent Visa and MasterCard from imposing the rules preventing surcharges and forcing merchants to honour all cards. This proposed class action seeks to recover the fees that Visa, MasterCard, and the banks are alleged to have collected illegally from merchants.

Along with Visa and MasterCard, the suit names BMO Financial Group, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Desjardins, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of America, Capital One, and Citygroup Inc. as defendants.

Contacts:

Greg McMullen
Branch MacMaster LLP
gmcmullen@branmac.com 604-631-2560

Reidar Mogerman
Camp Fiorante Matthews
rmogerman@cfmlawyers.ca 604-331-9530

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