NEW YORK, March 28 A federal judge in New York
granted class certification on Friday to a group of consumers
who sued Apple Inc for conspiring with five major
publishers to fix e-book prices in violation of antitrust law.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said the plaintiffs had
"more than met their burden" to allow them to sue as a group.
She rejected Apple's contentions that the claims were too
different from each other, or that some plaintiffs were not
harmed because some e-book prices fell.
Cote found the technology company liable in July 2013 for
colluding with the publishers after a non-jury trial in a case
brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Later this year, Cote will preside over a separate trial to
determine damages, which could reach hundreds of millions of
Thirty-three states and U.S. territories have separately
sued on behalf of their consumers, while consumers in the
remaining states filed the class action lawsuit that Cote
addressed on Friday. The 33 states are seeking more than $800
million in damages.
The publishers previously agreed to settle related antitrust
charges with the U.S. government for $166 million.
Apple is appealing Cote's ruling from last year, as well as
her decision to appoint an external monitor to oversee Apple's
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
The consolidated case is In Re: Electronic Books Antitrust
Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New
York, No. 11-md-02293.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)