U.S. Supreme Court Roundup

Supreme Court won’t restore $7.25B swipe fees settlement

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will not restore a $7.25 billion settlement between merchants and Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. over credit card transaction fees.

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving place a ruling by the federal appeals court in New York that tossed out the settlement in a lawsuit that began in 2005.

A group of 19 merchants and trade groups claimed in the lawsuit that Visa and MasterCard conspired to fix fees charged to stores for handling credit card payments.

A federal judge approved a settlement in 2013, but some retailers and consumer groups objected.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the proposed settlement was unfair to merchants that wouldn’t have received any money.


Justices won’t hear appeal in music copyright dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from record companies that want to pursue copyright infringement claims against music site Vimeo for hosting unauthorized recordings from the Beatles, Elvis Presley and other classic artists.

The justice on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that said websites are protected from liability even for older music recorded before 1972.

Capital Records and other music companies sued Vimeo for violating copyright laws based on 199 videos uploaded by users. A federal judge ruled a federal “safe harbor” law did not cover pre-1972 recordings that are protected by state law.

But a New York federal appeals court overturned that ruling, saying service providers would incur heavy costs to monitor every posting or risk “crushing liabilities” under state law.


High court ­struggles over hospital pension laws dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is struggling over whether some of the nation’s largest hospitals should be allowed to sidestep federal laws protecting pension benefits for workers.

The justices on Monday considered the case of three church-affiliated nonprofit hospital systems being sued for underfunding employee pension plans.

The hospitals — Advocate Health Care Network, Dignity Health and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System — say their pensions are “church plans” exempt from the law. They want to overturn three lower court rulings against them.

Lawyers for employees say the hospitals are shirking legal safeguards that could jeopardize retirement benefits for tens of thousands of workers.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she believed the case could go either way. Justice Anthony Kennedy said the hospitals seemed to rely in good faith on guidance from federal agencies.