TOPEKA – (March 7, 2016) – A federal court’s ruling in favor of Kansas and other plaintiffs who had accused Apple, Inc., of violating antitrust laws by conspiring with major U.S. publishers to fix the prices of e-books is now final and will enter into force, resulting in reimbursements for Kansas consumers, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear Apple’s appeal of the lower court decision. In 2012, Kansas joined with 32 other states and the U.S. Department of Justice in filing suit against Apple, accusing it of violating anti-price fixing laws and illegally driving up the cost of e-books. In 2013 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Apple “played a central role in facilitating and executing” the conspiracy to raise e-book prices, and that Apple’s orchestration of the conspiracy was necessary to the scheme’s success. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld that ruling in 2015. Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme court declining to hear Apple’s appeal of the case means that the lower court’s ruling will take effect.
As a result of the case, Apple will be required to issue reimbursements to consumers who purchased e-books from one of the five prior settling publishers. Eligible e-book purchasers should have previously received a notice by email or postcard. Roughly 23 million consumers nationwide were affected resulting in a $400 million settlement. The portion of consumer reimbursement that will come to Kansans will be based on how many affected consumers reside in Kansas.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a big win for Kansas consumers,” Schmidt said. “From the beginning of this case, we believed the evidence showed Apple had violated the law and Kansas consumers paid the price. We look forward to working with Apple to comply with the court’s order to reimburse consumers, and that order is now in effect.”
Schmidt’s office had previously settled cases with the publishers who were alleged to have been involved in the price-fixing scheme: Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers LLC., Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC (which does business as Macmillan), Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Simon & Schuster Inc.
More information on how the reimbursements will be issued will be available on the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org as it becomes available. Consumers may also call the consumer protection hotline at (800) 432-2310.