The two payment card giants in a filing at the high court argued that a Washington, D.C., federal judge was wrong to approve the class actions and that the decision would contribute to “rampant confusion” and “disarray” about what legal standard to use for class certification.
Attorneys for Visa and Mastercard contend the trial judge failed to conduct a thorough review to determine whether the proposed class members had enough in common.
The classes comprise hundreds of millions of plaintiffs, court records show.
“The entirety of the district court’s ‘rigorous analysis’ to certify the three classes in this case spans a handful of sentences,” lawyers at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer told the Supreme Court.
The petition, led by Kannon Shanmugam of Paul Weiss, will give the justices a new chance to weigh the contours of class action litigation, a topic the court has considered multiple times in recent years.
Granting class action status can place extra pressure on a corporate defendant to settle, especially in cases where a company faces claims of billions of dollars.
Representatives for Visa and Mastercard on Friday did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a similar request.
The underlying litigation dates to 2011, when individuals and operators of independent ATMs sued Visa, Mastercard and a group of banks for alleged violations of US antitrust law.
The plaintiffs argue that the rules for ATM transaction fees have caused them to pay artificially higher amounts. There are fees tied to all sides of an ATM transaction, from the consumer to the financial institutions involved. The class actions seek damages of more than $9 billion.
Several banks have agreed to settle, paying tens of millions of dollars and leaving only Visa and Mastercard remaining in the case.
Visa and Mastercard have faced other claims over transaction fees.
A federal appeals court last year affirmed a $5.6 billion class-action settlement that resolved price-fixing claims against the two companies from 12 million retailers.
The case is Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc v. National ATM Council et al, US Supreme Court, unassigned.