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eBooks Price Fixing

IMPORTANT NEWS

• The hearing in Ontario for approval of the proposed settlement was not completed on November 30, 2022. It will continue on January 13, 2023 at 9:00am EST. It will be heard by judicial videoconference on Zoom here:

Join Zoom Court by video:

Phone: 1-855-703-8985 ID: 614 7956 8088 code: 894196

https://ca01web.zoom.us/j/61479568088?pwd=QjJyb0x2M2dOVXRvcGxUeFh1akhldz09

 

• The parties will also be seeking approval of the Distribution Protocol that will govern the distribution of the settlement funds to Settlement Class Members and for their benefit. Please review the Distribution Protocol here.  It supplements and overrides some of the provisions in the settlement agreement.

 

1. Branch MacMaster LLP is co-counsel in class actions concerning eBooks purchased in Canada commenced on February 23, 2012 and September 22, 2016 against Apple Inc. and Apple Canada Inc. (“Apple”), Hachette Book Group Canada Ltd., Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Canada Limited, HarperCollins Publishers, LLC., Macmillan Publishers, Inc., Penguin Group (USA), LLC (formerly Penguin Group (USA) Inc.), Penguin Canada Book, Inc., Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc. a division of CBS Canada Holdings Co. (the “Publishers”). Companion actions were also commenced in Ontario and Québec, permitting the actions to be prosecuted nationally.

2. The class actions allege that from April 1, 2010 the price of eBooks sold in Canada was artificially high because Apple and the Publishers conspired to fix, maintain, increase or control the price at which eBooks were sold in Canada and worldwide contrary to Part VI of the Competition Act, the common law and the Civil Code of Quebec.

PARTIAL SETTLEMENT APPROVED

3. The plaintiffs reached a $3.175 million national settlement with the Publishers in the first action for the period between April 1, 2010 and September 21, 2014 that has been approved by the Courts. The Courts authorized counsel to continue to hold the settlement amount in trust for the benefit of the settlement class members while the actions continued against Apple.


PROPOSED SETTLEMENT REACHED

4. The plaintiffs have now reached a $12 million national settlement with Apple in the actions for the period between April 1, 2010 and March 10, 2017, subject to approval of the Courts in Ontario and Québec. If the proposed settlement is approved, it will conclude the litigation against all parties. The settlement agreement with Apple may be reviewed here.


THE SETTLEMENT CLASS

5. If the proposed settlement is approved, settlement class members will be:

All persons in Canada who purchased eBooks in Canada between April 1, 2010 and March 10, 2017, except those who opt out of the actions, the Defendants and certain related parties.

6. Under the proposed settlement, settlement class members will RELEASE Apple and the Publishers from claims regarding the purchase of eBooks in Canada between April 1, 2010 and March 10, 2017, and commit to discontinue or dismiss any other proceedings they may have outstanding.


SETTLEMENT APPROVAL HEARINGS 

7. The request to approve the proposed settlement will take place in hearings on November 30, 2022, at 10:00am (Ontario) and December 14, 2022, at 9:15am (Quebec). At the same time, Class Counsel will seek approval of their contingency agreements with the Plaintiffs/Petitioners and a 25% fee to be deducted from the settlement proceeds with other court-approved costs. The Notice concerning the Proposed Settlement can be reviewed here.

8. The hearing will be heard by judicial videoconference in Ontario on Zoom at:

https://ca01web.zoom.us/j/61479568088?pwd=QjJyb0x2M2dOVXRvcGxUeFh1akhldz09

9. Please note, the Courts cannot change the terms of the proposed settlement, they can only approve it or not.


OPTING OUT OF THE CLASS ACTIONS

10. The deadline for opting out of the proposed settlement expired on November 11, 2022. Class members who did not opt out will be bound by the terms of the settlement agreement if it is approved by the Courts.

THE DISTRIBUTION OF SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS

11. If the proposed settlement with Apple is approved, the net settlement proceeds will be combined with the net settlement proceeds from the earlier settlement with the Publishers and distributed to settlement class members in accordance with the terms of a Distribution Protocol to be approved by the Courts.

Branch MacMaster LLP is cooperating with a national consortium of counsel to prosecute companion actions nationally, including Sutts Strosberg LLP and Andrew Morganti (Ontario) and Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud (Quebec).

For more information on the action, or to find out more about participating in the action, please contact info@branmac.com.

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