While the class action lawsuit against Apple, Penguin and Macmillan moves forward at an ever slowing pace, lawyers on all sides of the issue are ready to pull a few more tricks from up their sleeves. Penguin filed a motion late last month to request that consumers be required to go to arbitration in order to seek damages for allegedly overpaying for their ebooks. Penguin’s attorneys based their motion on the terms of agreements put in place by several ebook retailers that require arbitration rather than a trial be used to settle disputes against the retailers.
Judge Deborah Cote, however, decided in her twelve-page decision that those terms of agreements don’t apply to the publisher, only the ebook retailers. She denied Penguin’s motion under those terms.
Some early estimates that have come out of the price fixing allegations between Apple and five of the Big Six publishers state that consumers overpaid for their ebooks by as much as a total of $250 million; all fifty states and the US commonwealths and territories are named in the class action suit to recover some of that overspending. Before this case was set to go to a bench trial, three of the publishers settled out of court with the Department of Justice as part of the DoJ’s investigation of anti-trust violations.