The Wall Street Journal reported this afternoon that a series of emails between two lawyer-friends may impede a $6 billion class-action antitrust settlement between Mastercard, Visa, and millions of merchants. The facts are a “twist,” as the Journal calls them, in the merchants’ price-fixing case against the credit card companies that began a decade ago.
While a partner at Wilke Farr representing Mastercard, attorney Keila Ravelo exchanged emails with former-colleague, friend, and attorney Gary Freidman, who was representing a group of merchants in the class action. (Interestingly, Wilke Farre discovered the emails while investigating Ravelo and her husband for theft of funds from Wilke Farre, among others.) The merchants in the settlement are alleging inadequate representation based on the disclosure of allegedly confidential information in these emails between Ravelo and Freidman.