(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Plaintiffs in the hotly contested ebooks price-fixing suit against Apple Inc. announced a settlement today providing for as much as $400 million in consumer relief, according to Kit A. Pierson, Co-Chair of Cohen Milstein’s Antitrust Practice Group. Combined with $166 million in previous settlements with five defendant publishing companies, consumers could receive more than $560 million.
“We believe this is a fantastic outcome for consumers,” Pierson said. “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.”
The value of the settlement is contingent on the resolution of Apple’s appeal of a 2013 verdict finding that Apple conspired with the five publishers to raise retail prices of ebooks. If the verdict is upheld, consumers will receive the full $400 million; if the verdict is remanded, consumers will receive $50 million or, in the event of a full reversal, Apple will pay no damages. “We are fully confident that the Second Circuit will affirm Judge Cote’s careful, well-reasoned verdict,” Pierson said.
The damages trial was scheduled to begin in August. In recent months, Cohen Milstein and co-lead counsel at Hagens Berman Sobol & Shapiro 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.
The settlement resolves damages claims brought by a class of ebook purchasers and attorneys general from 33 U.S. states and territories. In addition to Pierson, Jeffrey Dubner helped lead the Cohen Milstein team in this litigation.
More information about the case and the settlement is available at www.cohenmilstein.com/case-study/electronic-books-antitrust-litigation.