WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — The owners of 16 McDonald's restaurants in Pennsylvania are paying nearly $3 million to settle a lawsuit claiming they violated state law by paying hourly employees strictly with fee-laden debit cards.

A state appellate court last year upheld a lower court finding that the payroll cards were not "lawful money" or a "check," as required under Pennsylvania wage law. That decision paved the way for the settlement.

The judge's order Tuesday shows franchisees Albert and Carol Mueller will pay $1,200 to each of the nearly 2,400 plaintiffs. The plaintiffs' attorneys will also receive $858,000 in fees and court costs.

Both sides had previously announced the settlement, but not its terms.

The cards had required employees to pay fees for bank withdrawals, online bill payments and other charges.

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