In August 2014, a New York federal judge approved a $400 million antitrust settlement in the hotly contested ebooks price-fixing suit against Apple Inc. Combined with $166 million in previous settlements with five defendant publishing companies, consumers could receive more than $560 million.
The settlement resolves damages claims brought by a class of ebook purchasers and attorneys general from 33 U.S. states and territories.
Since December 2011, Cohen Milstein has been co-lead counsel with Hagens Berman in one of the most talked-about antitrust cases in recent years, In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation. Plaintiffs alleged that Apple and five of the six largest publishing companies in America conspired to raise the retail prices of ebooks. Together with the Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of 33 states and territories, Cohen Milstein litigated against Apple and its co-conspirators for three years, culminating in Judge Denise Cote’s finding that Apple violated the Sherman Act in the governmental cases and settlements with all defendants that could bring more than $560 million in relief to affected consumers.
The litigation has already brought $166 million in relief to ebook consumers, through settlements with the five publishing defendants. On July 16, 2014, the Plaintiffs announced the terms of a settlement with Apple, the final defendant, that will provide $400 million in additional consumer relief to consumers if Judge Cote’s verdict is upheld on appeal.
“We believe this is a fantastic outcome for consumers,” said Kit A. Pierson, Co-Chair of Cohen Milstein’s Antitrust Practice Group. “We are fully confident that the Second Circuit will affirm Judge Cote’s careful, well-reasoned verdict. Consumers will likely receive more than twice the amount they were overcharged, a resolution that furthers the Sherman Act’s goals of compensating injured consumers and deterring violations of the antitrust laws. This is a great victory not just for class members but for the enforcement of our antitrust laws and for readers everywhere.”
Together with its co-counsel, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Cohen Milstein won a series of successful motions on behalf of the class. Most recently, they had obtained class certification and the exclusion of most of Apple’s expert testimony, and had defeated Apple’s attempt to have the Second Circuit immediately overturn those rulings.