Marchbanks Truck Service Inc., et al. v. Comdata Network, Inc., et al., 07-1078 (E.D. Pa.)
McCulley McCluer serves on the plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in this antitrust class action on behalf of independent truck stops against Comdata, owner of the monopoly credit card system used by practically every truck stop in the United States, as well as certain chain truck stops.
The class action complaint charges that Comdata has used its market dominance to impair the ability of rivals to challenge Comdata's monopoly, resulting in independent truck stops having to pay millions of dollars in excessive fees. Comdata is based in Brentwood, Tennessee, and is a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Ceridian Corporation. Ceridian is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with chain truck stop companies that allegedly conspired with Comdata: Travel Centers of America Holding Company LLC, Petro Shopping Centers, L.P., Pilot Travel Centers LLC, and Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc.
After becoming a monopolist in the truck stop card and point of sale system markets in the 1990’s, plaintiffs charge that Comdata changed its pricing system and significantly increased card fees paid by independent truck stops relative to fees charged to the chain truck stops.
The alleged scheme involved a two-tiered pricing system in which Comdata charged the chain truck stop defendants lower fees for processing the cards than independent truck stops. In exchange, the chain truck stop defendants agreed to erect artificial barriers to the entry and expansion of rival card issuers, which allowed Comdata to keep charging inflated fees to the independent truck stops without losing market share. The lawsuit seeks treble damages for the overcharges to the plaintiffs and the proposed class of independent truck stops, and an injunction to prevent the ongoing anticompetitive conduct.
On March 24, 2011, the U.S. District Court denied Comdata's motion to dismiss the case. On March 29, 2012, the Court rejected the effort by the remaining defendants , Ceridian, plus the chain truck stop defendants, to dismiss the complaint.
On January 21, 2014, Class Counsel announced a settlement for $130 million plus valuable program changes. Please see the following news release.