Connecticut consumers to receive e-book lawsuit settlement

Consumers in Connecticut will begin receiving account credits or checks on Tuesday, June 21, through the settlement of the eBook price-fixing lawsuit against Apple, Inc. brought by Attorney General George Jepsen and 32 other states in 2012.

Eligible Connecticut consumers are expected to receive approximately $4.8 million from this settlement. These credits are in addition to $1.6 million already distributed to eligible Connecticut consumers in 2014 through earlier settlements with five major eBook publishers. In addition, the Attorney General is recovering a $1.9 million cash payment that will be deposited in the state’s General Fund.

“I encourage Connecticut consumers who filed claims or are otherwise eligible for credits through these settlements to check their email or mail and their retailer accounts to take advantage of the refunds that will begin arriving this week,” said Jepsen.

The states – led by Connecticut and Texas – and the federal Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and major eBook publishers alleging that the companies engaged in a conspiracy designed to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise eBook prices. The publishers – Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; Simon & Schuster Inc.; Holtzbrink Publishers LLC, d/b/a/ Macmillan; and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. – settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million, which was distributed to consumers in 2014.

Apple declined to settle the claims against it, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York conducted a three-week trial in June 2013. Apple appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and reached a conditional settlement under which it agreed to pay $400 million in compensation to consumers and an additional $50 million in other relief if it lost its appeals in the case. The District Court’s decision was upheld at the Second Circuit, and Apple’s subsequent petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied.

The amount each consumer receives from this settlement will depend on the number and type of qualifying eBooks they purchased from April 1, 2010, through May 21, 2012. Account credits can be used to purchase anything that the crediting retailer sells. Credits issued by Barnes & Noble also may be used in their physical stores. All credits and checks will expire on June 24, 2017 if not used before then.

Whether a consumer receives a credit or a check depends on the retailer through which the eBook was purchased and, in certain circumstances, whether a claim was properly filed. Beginning at midnight (Eastern Time) tonight, eligible consumers should review their email for communications from their eBook retailer regarding account credits. Checks will be sent by mail. Consumers who purchased eBooks through Apple will receive emails showing the sender as “State Attorneys General E-book Settlement,” with the email address [email protected]. These are legitimate emails authorized by the Attorney General. Due to the large number of consumers affected, it will take a few days to fully load account credits, and some consumers may not see credits in their accounts until Friday, June 24, 2016.

For more information about the settlements and credits, including precise instructions for your particular eBook retailer, visit ebooklawsuits.com.

Assistant Attorneys General Joseph Nielsen, Gary Becker, Kirsten Rigney and Richard Porter, Paralegal Holly MacDonald and Assistant Attorney General Michael Cole, chief of the Antitrust and Fraud Department, are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.

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