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Court Approves E-Books Settlement

On August 1, 2014, Judge Cote preliminarily approved a $450 million settlement in the Apple e-books litigation.  As many of you will recall, a June 2013 trial resulted in a finding that the various plaintiffs (including numerous states, the United States, and a class action) succeeded in proving that Apple had conspired with five book publishers to raise e-book prices.  A damages trial in the class action and parens patriae action was set for August 2014; before that occurred, however, the class action and parens patriae parties informed the court that they had executed an agreement in principle to resolve damages issues.  Notably, the amount Apple will pay under the settlement is contingent upon the Second Circuit’s ruling in a pending appeal concerning the District Court’s liability decision: (1) if the Second Circuit affirms the District Court’s liability finding, Apple will pay $400 million to eligible consumers and $50 million in attorneys’ fees; (2) if the Second Circuit vacates the District Court’s liability finding or reverses and remands for reconsideration or retrial on the merits, Apple will pay $50 million to consumers and $20 million in attorneys’ fees; and (3) if the Second Circuit reverses the liability finding, Apple will pay nothing.   You can read the full opinion here.