A PYMNTS Company

US: Apple eBook settlement cleared, but case not closed

 |  November 23, 2014

Apple has received official clearance for its eBook price-fixing settlement, but the case is not closed for the technology conglomerate.

US District Judge Denise Cote has reportedly signed off on Apple’s $450 million settlement offer Friday, giving the deal official clearance. The class of plaintiffs – made up of up to 23 million eBook purchasers – is set to receive $400 million, with the additional $50 million used for lawyers’ fees.

But according to reports, the settlement allows Apple to continue appealing Judge Cote’s ruling; should it win its appeal, Apple will see its settlement reduced to $50 million for the class and $20 million for lawyers.

Judge Cote called the settlement deal a “highly unusual” one.

The saga has dragged on for Apple, which refused to settle the price-fixing allegations with federal officials along with five eBook publishers.

Attorneys general in 33 states and territories subsequently filed a class action suit against Apple, but the sides reached a settlement deal in June, two months before a damages trial was set to begin. The plaintiffs were initially expected to seek $840 million in damages, according to reports.

While the settlement has been cleared, Apple will continue to pursue an appeal of Judge Cote’s July 2013 ruling that found the company guilty of conspiring to fix eBooks prices after the US Department of Justice sued Apple for the alleged anticompetitive conduct. The hearing for the appeal is set to begin December 15.

According to reports, if the appeals court overturns Judge Cote’s findings, Apple will not have to pay; however, the court could overturn her findings but also return the case back to her. Apple would owe $70 million and could see a new trial.

Full content: Reuters

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.