Marchbanks Truck Service Inc., et al. v. Comdata Network, Inc., et al.
Berger Montague managing shareholder Eric L. Cramer and shareholder Andrew C. Curley were co-lead counsel for a Settlement Class of approximately 6,500 independent truck stops and other retail fueling facilities in a long-running antitrust lawsuit that settled for a combined amount of $130 million plus valuable prospective relief that rolled back much of the conduct Plaintiffs had challenged as anticompetitive.
The lawsuit alleged that Comdata, Inc. (“Comdata”), the leading trucker fleet payment card issuer, had imposed anticompetitive anti-steering provisions in its agreements with Independents that artificially inflated the fees Independents paid when accepting the Comdata OTR Fleet Card for payment. Plaintiffs further alleged that Comdata with its parent, Ceridian, LLC, had engaged in anticompetitive agreements with 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.-pursuant to which the chains agreed not to compete with Comdata in OTR Fleet Card market in exchange for Comdata providing these chains with a transaction fee advantage versus their smaller, Independent truck stop competitors. Plaintiffs alleged that this conduct, taken together, insulated Comdata from competition, enhanced its market power, and led to Independents paying artificially inflated transaction fees (among other competitive harms).
The Court described the settlement as “substantial, both in absolute terms, and when assessed in light of the risks of establishing liability and damages in this case.” In addition to the $130 million settlement payment, the prospective relief portion of the settlement involved meaningful and enforceable commitments by Comdata to modify or not to enforce those portions of Comdata’s contracts that Plaintiffs had challenged as anticompetitive. This relief is expected to promote competition among payment cards used by over-the-road fleets and accepted by truck stops and retail fueling facilities, and thereby lead to lower transaction fees paid by Settlement Class members.
LEAD ATTORNEYS: Eric L. Cramer, Andrew C. Curley