Eyes of retailers and card issuers will turn to New York today where U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson will hear oral arguments concerning whether retailers and retail organizations opposed to a pending settlement of long-standing anti-trust litigation between retailers, card issuers and card brands have been publishing misleading information about the pending agreement.
The settlement has been opposed by several prominent retail chains and some retail associations.
Retailers in agreement with the settlement complained on March 29 that some websites put up by settlement opponents had failed to give true and accurate information about the settlement, arguing in part that “unlike the court-approved website, these sites omit a neutral discussion of the settlement’s terms and benefits, in places misstate them, and fail to fully and fairly apprise class members of their alternatives and the consequences of those alternatives.”
The supporters of the settlement have sought a court order that would force settlement opponents to modify the language on their websites.
In ordering a hearing about the complaint, Gleeson appeared to entertain the possibility that the allegations have merit.
"The trade associations responsible for the websites at issue are hereby ordered to show cause … why the relief sought should not be granted,” the judge wrote.
“In addition, they shall show cause why they should not be ordered to send a corrective communication to every class member who has either opted out of or objected to the proposed settlement (or both) based on the false or misleading information, together with a renewed opportunity for each such class member to choose his, her or its course of action with respect to the proposed settlement,” Gleeson wrote.