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Attorneys at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll have negotiated a settlement worth more than $200 million in a class action for airline passengers, resolving a nearly two-year antitrust dispute with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways over price-fixing allegations. The settlement, which took a year and a half to hammer out, was reached last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and applies to more than 8 million people in the United States and across the pond. “It’s an unprecedented amount for this type of case,” says Michael Hausfeld, a partner with Cohen, Milstein’s D.C. office. The settlement amount does not include attorney fees, which Hausfeld says have yet to be negotiated with the two airlines. The airline companies were accused of overcharging travelers by padding the fuel surcharge between August 2004 and March 2006. Hausfeld says passengers who flew during that period will be able to recover up to $20 per round-trip flight. After a Justice Department antitrust investigation into the price fixing, British Airways agreed in August to pay a $300 million criminal fine. But Virgin ducked criminal sanctions because it alerted authorities to the conspiracy. In the class action settlement, Charles Koob of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s New York office represented Virgin, and Daryl Libow of Sullivan & Cromwell’s D.C. office advised British Airways.
Attila Berry can be contacted at [email protected].

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