ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In an effort to quell the significant sway creditors wield in dictating terms with retail vendors, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Grocers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores on Monday submitted a joint brief to the Supreme Court as amici curiae, or "friends of the court," in the case of American Express vs. Italian Colors Restaurant.
“Too often, independent community pharmacists are forced into take-it-or-leave-it contracts with large corporations," noted NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. "NCPA filed this brief because independent community pharmacists deserve more leeway to challenge anticompetitive, anti-consumer conduct by dominant suppliers, including health insurance and credit card companies.”
“Most small business members have no choice but to enter into arrangements with credit card payment networks, health insurance companies and other suppliers of goods and services that wield substantial market power,” the associations stated. “In many of these current and prospective arrangements, these suppliers, like American Express, are insisting that our small business members waive their ability to privately enforce antitrust law via a class action — a procedure that has necessarily been and must often been utilized by our small business members to remediate losses caused by suppliers' anticompetitive conduct and to enjoin such illegal conduct from continuing. If these class action waivers that have been forced upon our members are held to always be enforceable, even where our members would be deprived of effectively vindicating their rights under antitrust law, our members will suffer substantial harm.”