VISA/MASTERCARD DOCUMENTS UNSEALED

NEW YORK -- Thousands of sealed documents were made public in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn last week in the class-action lawsuit in which 4 million U.S. merchants allege antitrust violations by MasterCard International, Purchase, N.Y., and Visa U.S.A., Foster City, Calif.s," according to Lloyd Constantine, lead counsel for the merchants and principle in Constantine & Partners, New York.The suit,

NEW YORK -- Thousands of sealed documents were made public in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn last week in the class-action lawsuit in which 4 million U.S. merchants allege antitrust violations by MasterCard International, Purchase, N.Y., and Visa U.S.A., Foster City, Calif.

s," according to Lloyd Constantine, lead counsel for the merchants and principle in Constantine & Partners, New York.

The suit, originally filed in 1996 by 18 retailers (including Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., and Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif.) and three trade associations (including Food Marketing Institute, Washington), received permission from the U.S. Supreme Court in June to proceed as a class-action involving nearly every U.S. retailer.

In a statement, Visa said, "Visa looks forward to addressing the issues that will determine who will decide how to pay at the checkout counter -- Visa believes the consumer should have that choice, while merchants led by Wal-Mart want to take that choice away."