Alaska Residents to Begin Receiving Refunds from Settlement of Ebook Price Fixing Lawsuit
March 25, 2014
Consumers in Alaska will begin receiving account credits or checks this week in partial settlement of a 2012 E-book price-fixing lawsuit brought by Attorney General Mike Geraghty and attorneys general from 32 other states. The lawsuit was brought against Apple, Inc. and five of the six largest E-book publishers in the country. Those E-book publishers -- Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, d/b/a Macmillan, and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. -- settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million, of which approximately $750,000 will be distributed to Alaska residents. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has now approved those settlements.
An account credit or check will be based on the number of eligible E-books purchased by a consumer during the claims period (April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012). Whether a consumer receives a credit or check depends on the retailer through which the E-book was purchased and, in certain circumstances, on whether a claim was properly filed or on whether a consumer specifically requested a check. Eligible consumers should review their email for communications from their E-book retailer, or from the Settlement Administrator, regarding account credits or checks. For more information on the settlements, please visit www.ebookagsettlements.com.
Apple declined to settle the claims against it, and the District Court conducted a three-week trial in June 2013. Following that trial, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote found that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing a conspiracy to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. A second trial to determine the amount of damages Apple must pay for that violation has been tentatively scheduled for this summer. If successful, additional account credits or checks will be distributed to Alaska consumers in the future.
Attorney General Geraghty reiterated that “consumers are entitled to a fair, open and competitive marketplace. When a company violates the antitrust laws, consumers who have suffered as a consequence of that violation are entitled to compensation.”
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