Appeals Court upholds Apple eBook settlement
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today upheld the $450 million settlement in the Apple eBook case. The suit had been brought by a consumer, John Bradley, who objected to “the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the Settlement.”
The court specifically pointed out that the case was brought by what it termed a “professional objector.”
Apple will now pay $400 million in damages to consumers, while the attorneys get $50 million. What a deal.
“We have considered Bradley’s remaining arguments and find them to be without any merit,” the court said today. “The District Court observed that Bradley’s arguments were made by a “professional objector,” not by someone “who ha[s] a stake in the enterprise in a way that a class member would.”
The original case goes back to 2012 when five major publishers – Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan – along with Apple were accused of attempting to fix eBook prices. At the time Amazon was setting the price of a typical eBook at $9.99, below the level publishers were looking for.
Each of the publishers soon settled, but Apple continued to hold out, claiming that while they were working with the publishers, they did not collude with then in any conspiracy. The courts disagreed,
In 2013 US District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple was central to the price fixing scheme and soon Apple reach a financial settlement whereby it would pay $450 million if it lost on appeal, a smaller amount to consumers should it prevail on appeal. Apple continues to contest the case.