A monetary claims settlement has been proposed against Apple Inc. for its participation in a price-fixing conspiracy for e-books, according to a state Department of Justice release.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced Thursday the settlement agreement, which remains subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, would resolve claims for consumer damages brought by Wisconsin and 32 other states and territories, as well as the states’ civil penalty claims.
If the settlement of approved, the amount to be received by consumers is contingent on the resolution of Apple’s appeal of the District Court’s July 2013 finding that Apple violated the antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy with five publishers to artificially raise prices for e-books between 2010 and 2012, according to the release. The appeal is pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Consumers nationwide will receive $400 million if the court’s ruling is affirmed, officials said. If the appellate courts do not affirm the court’s ruling, the settlement provides for a smaller amount or no monetary amount if Apple is determined not to have violated the antitrust laws.
“When combined with previous publisher settlements, this settlement will provide consumers with more than double their actual damages, assuming the liability finding is upheld on appeal,” Van Hollen said in the release. “Wisconsin consumers account for approximately 1.5 percent of e-book purchases in the country.”
E-book purchasers nationwide have already received compensation from $166 million in settlement funds paid by the five publishers involved in the conspiracy, according to the release.