Law Firm Defends Work In $5.6 Billion Card Fee Case

Law firm card fee case

A law firm, which previously admitted to unknowingly submitting fake claims in a $5.6 billion settlement with Visa and MasterCard, informed a U.S. judge on Thursday that other parties also submitted fraudulent material in the case.

New York-founded Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, responding to a request for more information from the Brooklyn judge overseeing the antitrust case, stated that it had terminated its relationship with nearly 2,000 merchant plaintiffs since disclosing the false claims last month.

Milberg asserted that it was being unfairly singled out and claimed that other companies and law firms had also submitted fraudulent claims in the case. “It is a very unfortunate part of the settlement process, particularly in a settlement as large as this one,” Milberg stated in its filing, without naming any specific company or firm.

Visa and MasterCard agreed to the $5.6 billion settlement in 2018 to resolve claims from millions of merchants who alleged they had overpaid credit and debit card fees. Although Milberg did not help craft the settlement, it had sought a portion of the fund for its clients.

Representatives from Milberg and attorneys for the retailer class did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Visa and MasterCard denied any wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.

Last month, attorneys representing the class of 12 million retailers learned about fraudulent claims submitted by Milberg and raised their concerns with the court. “If Milberg knows of fraud, it should alert class counsel or the court,” the class attorneys wrote in Thursday’s filing, which they jointly submitted with Milberg.

Milberg, in its May response, said it had withdrawn dozens of “proofs of authorization” that are part of the claims process for clients. The firm blamed a third-party “referral” source and stated that it was no longer pursuing new clients in the Visa and MasterCard case.

The class attorneys at plaintiffs’ firms Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd and Robins Kaplan urged the court to consider punishing Milberg or referring it to the U.S. Justice Department.

Milberg insisted that it was making an effort to be “fully transparent” with the class attorneys and called the idea of punishing the firm or referring it to law enforcement “absurd.”