Priceless: The Case that Brought Down the Visa/MasterCard Bank Cartel

Priceless: The Case that Brought Down the Visa/MasterCard Bank Cartel

by Lloyd Constantine
     
 

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Lloyd Constantine began his career in legal services, representing impoverished clients in civil rights and constitutional cases. Decades later, he would make headlines for representing retailers and consumers against a cartel that undermined one of the fundamental tenets of commerce in America: competition. A man who thrives on competition himself, Constantine

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Overview

Lloyd Constantine began his career in legal services, representing impoverished clients in civil rights and constitutional cases. Decades later, he would make headlines for representing retailers and consumers against a cartel that undermined one of the fundamental tenets of commerce in America: competition. A man who thrives on competition himself, Constantine now gives us the insider's story on the biggest antitrust lawsuit in history—a case that pitted his small firm against financial-industry giants Visa and MasterCard, along with Clifford-Chance, the largest law firm in the world.

Combining the real-life legal drama of A Civil Action with the relentless pace of a John Grisham novel, Constantine delivers the definitive account of a case that made history and will be studied for years to come. Beginning in the 1980s, when Visa and MasterCard—whose combined market share topped 95 percent—announced the merger of their debit card networks, Priceless traces the fallout of this catastrophic union, from raised eyebrows among attorney generals to the launch of a major class-action lawsuit. For the five merchants initially represented by Constantine's firm (Wal-Mart, Sears, Circuit City, Safeway, and The Limited), the reality of the situation was clear: millions of U.S. businesses were being illegally coerced in a scheme that forced excessive fees on merchants every time a customer used a debit card. When a $3.4 billion settlement was reached in 2003, the court estimated that the case would save stores and shoppers up to $87 billion in the first decade alone.

A suspense-filled story with a vibrant cast of characters—and a smoking-gun document known as "The Shark"—Priceless travels from corporate backrooms to the courtroom to capture one of America's biggest triumphs in the high-stakes world of antitrust litigation.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert Abrams

Constantine's brilliant but easy to read book is a David and Goliath story about his own career and the seminal Visa/MasterCard case that broke the back of a giant anticonsumer conspiracy and that reaffirmed the core pro-competition concept that lies at the heart of America and its economic system.

Nick Taylor

Priceless lifts 'crusading lawyer' from the dustbin of cliches and gives the term new meaning. Lloyd Constantine tells the story of the nation's largest (by far) antitrust case with candor, clarity, and wit.

John Coffee

At a time when class actions and plaintiffs' attorneys are under attack, this book is an essential corrective. It demonstrates that private enforcement can work—but only when dedicated counsel are willing to be their careers on a David-versus-Goliath battle with the industry. Lloyd Constantine and his colleagues broke a cartel that robbed consumers and restrained competition—and did it with virtually no help from the government. But they almost lost on several occasions. Big case litigation is a marathon, not a spring, and this behind-the-scenes account reveals the tactics—fair and foul—that defendants can use to crush their opponents. Many will not like how they are portrayed in this 'tell-all' account that is opinionated, acerbic, and pulls no punches. But much like A Civil Action, it provides a blunt, 'warts and all' perspective on the real world of mega-litigation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781607144564
Publisher:
Kaplan Publishing
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.34(h) x 0.99(d)

Meet the Author

Lloyd Constantine is Counsel to Constantine Cannon LLP, a commercial litigation firm in New York and Washington, D.C. with an internationally acclaimed antitrust practice, where Eliot Spitzer worked for several years. He was lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the landmark Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation, which resulted in a $3.4 billion monetary settlement and an historic injunction, which the court valued as providing upwards of $87 billion in benefit for U.S. merchants and consumers. Constantine was Senior Advisor to Governor Spitzer from January 2007 until April 2008. He advised the Governor on a broad range of public policy issues and directed the Administration's initiatives in the areas of Higher Education, Local Government Efficiency, Public Authority Reform and the legal representation of New York's poor in civil and criminal proceedings. He is the author of Priceless: The Case That Brought Down the Visa/Mastercard Bank Cartel.

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