Trial Forthcoming: Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple in E-book Price-fixing Gets OK from Judge
April 4, 2014
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote granted class certification to the suit accusing Apple of violating antitrust law and conspiring with five major publishers to fix e-book prices. Thirty-three states and U.S. territories have sued separately on behalf of their consumers, but individual consumers from other states and territories have come together in this class action suit. Apple countered that the claims were un-similar and not all plaintiffs were harmed due to the falling price of some e-books. The judge responded by saying, “This is a paradigmatic antitrust class action.” Also denied was Apple’s motion to exclude plaintiff expert testimony. Judge Cote, in a separate ruling, determined that the statements of Apple’s two damage experts would not be allowed because they were not based on “rigorous application of economic methods.” The trial, to determine damages possibly reaching hundreds of millions of dollars, will be scheduled for July or September this year.
In a July 2013 case, Judge Cote found Apple guilty of price-fixing to battle Amazon.com Inc.’s dominion of the e-book market. Apple not only appealed that decision, but also Cote’s appointment of an external monitor to survey antitrust compliance. The 2nd Circuit Court rejected Apple’s request to remove the monitor last month. Apple has declined comment on the trial proceedings.