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

Fri Feb 8, 2013 8:36pm EST

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SEATTLE,  Feb. 8, 2013  /PRNewswire/ --  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  www.hbsslaw.com/ebooks.  

About Hagens Berman
Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP represents consumers,
whistleblowers, investors, workers and others in complex and class-action
litigation. The firm has offices in ten cities and has been named to the
National Law Journal's Plaintiffs' Hot List five times. Founded in 1993, HBSS
continues to successfully fight for consumer rights in large, complex litigation
against large corporations. More about the law firm and its successes can be
found at  www.hbsslaw.com. Visit the firm's class-action law blog at 
www.classactionlawtoday.com.

Contact:  Mark Firmani, Firmani + Associates Inc., 206.443.9357 or 
mark@firmani.com.

SOURCE  Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP

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