By Reuters and Fortune Editors
February 19, 2015

The rules that American Express (AXP) imposes on merchants to prevent them from steering customers to low-cost ways of paying are unlawful under a U.S. antitrust law, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis of Brooklyn, who last year oversaw a trial in which the U.S. Justice Department and 17 states accused Amex of harming competition, said he would come up with a remedy at a later date.

The credit card company said in a statement Thursday that it is disappointed by the decision.

Amex has defended its merchant rules, and has said its business could suffer a “material adverse effect” if it loses the case.

Shares of Amex fell sharply following news of the decision.


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