A New York federal judge has granted final approval to Apple Inc.’s $450 million settlement with consumers over claims it conspired with publishers to raise e-book prices. The settlement includes a $30 million award as fees for the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Judge Denise Cote approved the settlement during a hearing in Manhattan court. Under the settlement, consumers will receive $400 million, state authorities which assisted in the handling of the case will get $20 million, and class counsel at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC will together receive $30 million in fees.
The settlement contains an unusual provision that allows Apple to pay $50 million to consumers and $10 million each to the states and class counsel if Judge Cote’s 2013 decision finding Apple liable is vacated and remanded on appeal or reversed and remanded with instructions for reconsideration or a new trial. Interestingly, if the decision is simply reversed, Apple will pay nothing. Judge Cote called the $400 million consumer payment an “excellent recovery,” adding that the “enforcement of our antitrust laws is vitally important to the vibrancy of our economy.”
The suit, pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice and 33 states, alleged Apple’s distribution deals in 2010 with five top publishers — Simon & Schuster Inc., Penguin Group USA, Macmillan Publishers USA, Hachette Book Group Inc. and HarperCollins Publishers LLC — raised the prices for digital books from $9.99 to as much as $14.99, costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. Only Apple went to trial. Each of the publishers settled its claim. A nonjury bench trial featured testimony from leaders in the U.S. publishing industry and top executives at Apple, Amazon and fellow e-book rivals Barnes & Noble Inc. and Google Inc.
In July 2013, Judge Cote ruled that Apple had “played a central role in facilitating and executing” the conspiracy. The company has since appealed that decision to the Second Circuit. According to a Nov. 14 motion, seeking Judge Cote’s final approval for the $450 million deal, a claims administrator and e-book retailers have sent emails or postcards to almost 23 million addresses of people eligible to receive compensation. The settlement had won preliminary approval on Aug. 1.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.