Court Appoints Hagens Berman Lead Counsel in Amazon eBook Pricing Case

A federal court this week agreed to consolidate several class actions against Amazon and the Big Five publishers, and named Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro as acting lead counsel in the action.

The order comes after Hagens Berman filed the first lawsuit against Amazon and the publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House) in January, alleging a conspiracy to fix the prices of e-books. As is common in consumer class action cases, this initial action was quickly followed by a series of copy cases, which will now be merged into one action.

“The tribunal concludes that such an appointment will help achieve efficiency and economy in what is likely to be a costly and complicated litigation and that such an appointment will improve fairness for all parties involved as well as proposed classes, “Justice Gregory Woods wrote in a brief order, approving an unopposed motion.

The lawsuits make identical claims, particularly that Amazon and publishers’ use of various most-favored-nation clauses in their contracts is evidence of an agreement “to prevent competitive pricing”, forcing consumers “to overpaying when they buy Big Five eBooks through a competing eBook retailer from Amazon. “

Among the remedies sought, the lawsuit seeks monetary reimbursement for consumers who purchased e-books through Amazon’s competitors, damages, and an injunction that would require Amazon and publishers to “cease enforcing penalties. anti-competitive price restrictions “.

Meanwhile, Hagens Berman last month filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of independent booksellers, which accuses Amazon and publishers of a conspiracy to restrict price competition in the retail and online print book market, with the independent bookseller based in Evanston, Ill., Bookends & Begins the applicant originally named on behalf of a potential class of booksellers.

In 2011, Hagens Berman was the first to file a price-fixing complaint against Apple and a group of five major publishers, which was also quickly followed by a dozen lawsuits that were consolidated into one action, with Hagens Berman as a leader. Advice. Eventually, a group of 33 states and the Justice Department also filed a lawsuit, leading to settlements with publishers in 2012 and a verdict against Apple in 2013.

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