Cumberland Times-News

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July 17, 2014

Attorney General: W.Va. consumers could get $1.7 million from Apple

— CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced today that West Virginia consumers could receive as much as $1.7 million as part of a $400 million settlement between Apple Inc. and 33 states and territories to resolve an electronic book price-fixing lawsuit against the company.

The proposed settlement agreement, which still has to be approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, would resolve claims for consumer damages brought by West Virginia and 32 other states and territories, as well as the states’ civil penalty claims.

“We are pleased with this settlement, which, combined with previous publisher settlements, will provide consumers with over twice their actual damages, assuming the liability finding is upheld on appeal,” Morrisey said. “While West Virginia has far fewer E-book consumers than other states, this settlement is an important victory.”

Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, the final amount consumers will receive depends upon the outcome of Apple’s appeal of a 2013 District Court ruling that the company violated antitrust laws by conspiring with five publishers to artificially raise prices for E-books between 2010 and 2012. That appeal is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

E-book purchasers nationwide have already received compensation from $166 million in settlement funds paid by the five publishers involved in the conspiracy – Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now part of Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Schuster Inc.

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