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ARTICLE ID 192476

$________ Civil Rights – Anti-competitive practices – Trucking fleet card company settles with class of independent truck stops.

U.S.D.C. - Eastern District of Pennsylvania

In this case, a class of independent truck stops sued the provider of a payment card issuer for anti-competitive trade practices, as well as several national truck stop chains. The matter was resolved via settlement.

One of the defendants, Comdata, Inc., is the market-leading provider of Trucker Fleet Cards (a type of payment card commonly used by long-haul truckers) and Fleet Card POS systems. The lawsuit alleged that Comdata, a subsidiary of Ceridian LLC, attained this market dominance through acquisition of other competing providers of said services, as well as through a scheme under which Comdata offered lower transaction fees to the chain truck stops in exchange for said chains’ agreement not to compete with Comdata.

The plaintiffs also alleged that provisions Comdata inserted into its contracts with Independent Truck Stops prevented those Truck Stops from steering fleets carrying the Comdata card to rival Fleet Card issuers through discounts or surcharges. As an alleged result of this behavior, Comdata insulated itself against market competition, enhanced its power, and artificially inflated the transaction fee rates paid by independent truck stops. The plaintiffs in this matter included several of those truck stops, with a proposed class of others likewise affected.

The plaintiffs filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, accusing the defendants of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act through monopolistic practices. The defendants included Comdata and its parent company Ceridian LLC, as well as three national truck stop chains: 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. The defendants denied the allegations. A class was proposed that would encompass more than ________ other independent truck stops likewise affected by the defendants’ actions. The plaintiffs sought recovery of damages sustained through inflated fees, as well as changes to Comdata’s merchant agreements.The plaintiffs eventually settled, on behalf of the proposed class of independent truck stops, with all defendants for $________, as well as agreeing to provide for competition-enhancing prospective relief that Class Counsel believes will ultimately bring down transaction fees to class members.

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