While Connecticut consumers are beginning to receive payments from a prior partial settlement in the multistate e-book price-fixing lawsuit, a hearing on damages is expected to get underway against Apple this summer regarding the same case.
The lawsuit was brought in 2012 by Connecticut Attorney General George Jep­sen and attorneys general from 32 other states against Apple Inc. and five major publishers.
The publishers—Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers, Simon & Schuster Inc., Holtzbrink Publishers (Macmillan) and Penguin Group Inc.—settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million, of which approximately $3 million is being distributed to Connecticut residents. Those settlements have now been approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Apple declined to settle the claims against it and a three-week trial took place in U.S. District Court 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 state and federal antitrust laws.
Apple is appealing that decision. A second trial to determine the amount of damages Apple would pay has been tentatively scheduled for this summer. “At the upcoming damages trial, Connecticut—along with Texas and New York—will be leading the effort on behalf of our partner states to obtain substantial additional compensation for consumers as well as civil penalties for the state,” Jepsen said in a statement.
Assistant Attorneys General Joseph Nielsen, Gary Becker and Richard Porter, and Assistant Attorney General Michael Cole, chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department, are assisting Jepsen with this case.•