Hagens Berman Joins U.S. Department of Justice, 33 State Attorneys General, and Macmillan Publishers in Settlement of E-books Price-fixing Cases


SEATTLE – Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a consumer-rights law firm today announced that the firm, along with 33 state Attorneys General and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), have reached a proposed settlement with Macmillan over allegations of e-book price-fixing.

The settlement resolves claims filed by the DOJ, numerous state governments, and a class-action suit brought by Hagens Berman on behalf of a nationwide class of consumers.

The lawsuits alleged that Macmillan participated in a conspiracy to fix the price of e-books by coordinating with several of the nation’s largest publishers, including HarperCollins Publishers, a subsidiary of News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWSA), Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group Inc., a subsidiary of Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO), Simon & Schuster Inc., a subsidiary of CBS (NYSE: CBS), and Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to suddenly switch to an agency model for selling e-books. Hagens Berman’s complaint estimated that the scheme may have increased the prices of many e-books by as much as 50 percent by eliminating the ability of retailers to offer discounts.

“We were extraordinarily pleased that we could work alongside so many talented and dedicated attorneys general and the DOJ to present a unified front in dealing with Macmillan,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead counsel for the proposed class of consumers. “We look forward to moving the consumer class-action litigation forward against the remaining defendants, Penguin and Apple.”

Macmillan was the last of five defendant publishers to settle claims brought by the DOJ. In that case, Apple is the only remaining defendant, with a trial scheduled for June, 2013. In the consumer class-action case, Penguin and Apple have not agreed to a settlement.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Macmillan would create a settlement fund totaling $20 million from which claims to consumers who purchased e-books would be paid. In addition, the publisher has agreed to lift restrictions on discounting for e-books and will not be allowed to enter into new agreements restricting prices until December 2014.

The settlement must be approved by the court before funds can be distributed.

“This is a big win for consumers and is a testament to the hard work of the Justice Department and state attorneys-general, all of who devoted significant resources to this case,” said Berman. “We look forward to presenting the settlement to the court and getting funds distributed to consumers who were wronged by Macmillan’s alleged anticompetitive behavior.”

You can learn more about this case by visiting /cases/e-books-antitrust-litigation.

# # #

About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in nine cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List seven times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

Ashley Klann

Hagens Berman purchases advertisements on search engines, social media sites and other websites. Transmission of the information contained or available through this website is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you seek legal advice or representation by Hagens Berman, you must first enter a formal agreement. All information contained in any transmission is confidential and Hagens Berman agrees to protect information against unauthorized use, publication or disclosure. This site is regulated by the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.

Back to all cases

Case videos

Case Gallery

Case Timeline

09/07/17: CASE UPDATE

The court approved a re-distribution of remaining funds from the Apple Settlement on September 7, 2017 to customers that used their credit or cashed their check from the first Apple distribution that concluded in June of 2017. Please see the website for further questions on claims distributions: https://ebooklawsuits.com/.

08/17/17: Original Settlement Claims Period Done

The claims period for the original set of settlements in the e-books antitrust case ended on June 30, 2016. Plaintiffs and the litigating Attorneys General will be working with the court to distribute remaining funds to consumers. 

06/21/16: Consumers Receive Settlement Checks

06/21/16: Consumers begin receiving settlement checks. more »

03/07/16: Supreme Court denies Apple's appeal

The Supreme Court denies Apple’s appeal regarding its liability for the alleged e-book price-fixing scheme. Consumers will receive an additional $400 million in compensation. more »

06/30/15: Apple Appeal Denied

Second Circuit denies Apple's appeal, bringing consumers closer to proposed $450 million settlement with Apple. more »

07/16/14: $400 Million

Pending the Second Circuit Court’s decision, Apple will pay consumers $400 million. This settlement combined with additional settlements from the publishing companies will total $560 million – twice the amount of damages suffered by the class.

08/06/13: Settlement Preliminary Approval

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote provided preliminary approval to a series of settlements between states, consumers, and five publishers.

05/22/13: Penguin Settles

Penguin agreed to $75 million settlement.

05/15/12: Motion to Dismiss Denied

United States District Judge Denise Cote rejected Apple and the publishers’ motion to dismiss.

12/20/11: Hagens Berman Appointed Lead Counsel