Approval of swipe-fee settlement could mean big payday for MN law firm


A judge's approval of a multi-billion-dollar settlement in an antitrust lawsuit over bank card swipe fees could open the door to a big payday for the Minneapolis law firm that led the negotiations.

The Star Tribune reports U.S. District Judge John Gleeson approved the $5.7 billion settlement that 7 million retailers reached with Visa, MasterCard, and several major banks. The deal is considered the largest class-action antitrust settlement in U.S. history.

The settlement was first announced in the summer of 2012 but was not approved by Judge Gleeson until Friday. As Bloomberg reports, it follows a ruling that the credit card networks and banks colluded in fixing the fees they charge merchants whenever a customer pays with a card.

The first lawsuit in what would become a class action was filed by Twin Cities attorney K. Craig Wildfang in 2005, the Star Tribune says. Wildfang handles antitrust cases with the Minneapolis firm Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi.

According to the Business Journal, Wildfang requested more than $747 million in fees and expenses for his firm and others that worked on the case.

But in a story on Wildfang earlier this month, the Star Tribune wrote that requested legal fees had shrunk to about $570 million and that Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi hope to receive about one-quarter to one-third of that total. That would put the Minneapolis firm's payment in the range of $142 million to $190 million for its eight years of work, according to the newspaper.

The payment still may have to wait for more legal maneuvers to play out, though. Many of the country's largest retailers – such as Target, Walmart, and Amazon – opted out of the settlement, arguing that it does not do enough to rein in Visa and MasterCard. As NBC reports, some of those retailers are filing their own lawsuits.

Next Up

sprinkler water

Lake Elmo among latest MN cities to implement outdoor watering ban

The ban prohibits automatic or mechanical watering outdoors in an effort to conserve water during the period of extreme heat.

LRT trail in Hopkins.

Police: Suspect assaulted woman on LRT trail in Hopkins

They're asking for the public's help tracking him down.

Screen Shot 2021-06-12 at 7.50.02 AM

Former WCCO reporter Mary McGuire joins FOX 9

She'll be reporting in a freelance role with the FOX affiliate.

Matt Shoemaker

Matt Shoemaker removed from rotation, fits in with Twins bullpen

The right-hander allowed two ninth-inning runs in a 6-4 loss to Houston.

1200 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 2019

1 dead, 1 wounded in shooting outside funeral in Minneapolis

The funeral was for one of two people killed in the shooting outside a Minneapolis nightclub in May.

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 1.51.13 PM

Darnella Frazier awarded Pulitzer Prize special citation for George Floyd video

She was just 17 when she filmed George Floyd's murder at 38th and Chicago.

MN Food Truck Festival 3 jpg

MN Food Truck Festival returns with events in St. Paul, Anoka

Organizers promise 50-plus food trucks at each festival - including some newcomers.

Brian Mock body cam screengrab from charges - 2021.06.11

Charges: MN man bragged he 'beat the s**t' out of cops in Capitol riot

He was one of two suspects arrested in Minnesota and charged Friday.

Screen Shot 2021-04-01 at 3.30.32 PM

$23 a month for Bally Sports North? It could happen, per report

There is a way to circumnavigate the system already ... but it's kind of naughty.

Keisa Lange

4th suspect arrested in death of woman found along St. Cloud road; 3 others charged

Keisa Lange was found dead on the side of a quiet cul de sac from a gunshot.