McCulley McCluer PLLC, one of the Court-appointed members of the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee, is pleased to announce settlements for a proposed class action. Specifically, Class Counsel for a proposed class of over 4,000 independent truck stops and other retail fueling merchants announce settlements of an antitrust lawsuit against Comdata Inc., the leading trucker fleet payment card issuer, and three national truck stop chains for a combined amount of $130 million plus valuable prospective relief in the form of enforceable changes to certain of Comdata’s allegedly anticompetitive business practices. This class action has been pending before the Hon. James Knoll Gardner in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since 2007.
Comdata operates a payment card network used by over-the-road truckers and fleets to purchase fuel and other items at truck stops and other retail fueling merchants. The lawsuit alleged that Comdata imposed anticompetitive provisions in its agreements with class members that artificially inflated the fees these truck stops and other retail fueling merchants paid when accepting the card for payment. The lawsuit also challenged allegedly anticompetitive arrangements among Comdata, its parent company Ceridian LLC, and three national truck stop chains: defendants TravelCenters of America LLC and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Pilot Travel Centers LLC and its predecessor Pilot Corporation, and Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc. Plaintiffs alleged that Comdata, with the assistance of its parent, Ceridian, engaged in anticompetitive behavior with the truck stop chains in which the chains agreed not to compete with Comdata in exchange for Comdata providing the chains with a transaction fee advantage versus their smaller, independent truck stop competitors. Plaintiffs alleged that this conduct insulated Comdata from competition, enhanced its market power, and led to independent truck stops’ paying artificially inflated transaction fees. Defendants have denied these allegations.
These settlements resolved all claims of the named Plaintiffs and the proposed class in exchange for aggregate payments from all defendants totaling $130 million plus a legally binding commitment from Comdata for prospective relief in the form of changes to certain allegedly anticompetitive contractual provisions in its merchant agreements. Plaintiffs and Co-Lead Class Counsel believe that this relief will promote competition among payment cards used by over-the-road fleets and truckers and lead to lower merchant fees for the independent truck stops.
The settlements were finally approved by the Hon. James Knoll Gardner of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on July 14, 2014.
Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Class Counsel are Berger & Montague, P.C., Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. Plaintiffs' Executive Committee includes the Co-Lead Counsel and McCulley McCluer PLLC, The Law Offices of David Balto, and the Law Offices of Joshua Davis. The named Plaintiffs and proposed Class representatives are Marchbanks Truck Service, Inc. d/b/a Bear Mountain Travel Stop, Gerald F. Krachey d/b/a Krachey’s BP South, and Walt Whitman Truck Stop, Inc.