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Noting that their efforts would only be duplicative, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Margarita Esquiroz dealt a blow to a lawsuit filed by Florida music lovers against the nation’s major record companies. The suit, which alleges the companies conspired to overcharge consumers for compact discs, is similar to dozens of others that have been filed around the country, the judge noted in a Feb. 6 order. Those actions have been consolidated and transferred by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to a federal judge in Maine. Because of that, Esquiroz granted a defense motion to stay all proceedings for now. Esquiroz did, however, allow for further discovery by the plaintiffs’ attorneys that might convince her to change her mind. The suit, which seeks class action status, was filed by five Floridians against Sony Music Entertainment Inc., Time Warner Inc., Universal Music & Video Distribution Corp., UMG Recordings Inc., Capitol Records Inc. and BMG Music. The suits in the multidistrict litigation were filed in California, New York, Connecticut, New Mexico and Florida. They were filed after the companies signed a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. But the arrangement did not require the companies to rebate money to consumers. It only required the companies to stop pressuring retailers to advertise CDs at or above a minimum price set by the distributors, or else the retailers would lose out on cooperative advertising funds from the distributors. The FTC called the practice a violation of antitrust laws.

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