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Judge Cote grants class-action status to consumer e-book lawsuit

updated 10:00 pm EDT, Fri March 28, 2014

Second of three lawsuits Apple is facing over e-book pricing

Judge Denise Cote, the same jurist that notably pre-announced Apple's likely guilt when she oversaw the Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple, has granted class-action status to various consumers and consumer groups that are also suing Apple and the various publishers over alleged price-fixing of e-book prices -- even though most prices under the "agency model" Apple used have in fact fallen. The iPhone maker lost the first suit, with Judge Cote ruling that Apple somehow "led" a price-fixing conspiracy among publishers in an effort to bust Amazon's near-monopoly of the e-book market.

Also waiting in the wings is another lawsuit over the matter, brought by 33 states and US territories by the attorneys general on behalf of consumers who were allegedly harmed by the publishers' and Apple's actions, which saw a short-lived hike in best-selling titles (averaging about $2) but opened the door for other publishers and resellers to join the growing market and combat both Amazon's near-total domination of ebook sales as well as its abusive relationship with publishers, who felt Amazon's loss-leader e-book pricing was devaluing the product and unsustainable.

Having pre-announced that Apple was likely guilty before the trial even began, Judge Cote rather unsurprisingly ruled that Apple had broken antitrust law in unspecified ways, discounting contradictory evidence from Apple executives and Sony, as well as relying on testimony from e-book competitors Amazon and Google that was later revised and contradicted.

Along with the consumer class-action lawsuit, Judge Cote will also be overseeing the states' lawsuit against Apple -- meaning the company will likely have to pay largely the same buyers three times, as she is seen by both Apple and outside legal observers as extremely unlikely to change her initial ruling, on which the groups will be relying as the crux of their own lawsuits. While her original verdict is being appealed, the states will press on with their case, which is seeking more than $800 million in damages. The consumer class action has not announced how much it is seeking.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Hillbilly Geek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-22-06

    She was probably frightened by an Apple product as a child.

  1. b9bot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-22-08

    I don't understand how Cote is able to keep her position as a judge when she does not follow the rules of a judge in any way shape or form. I thought a judge was to be impartial, rule on evidence and testimony. This judge rules on her own opinion and believes. Disregards evidence and testimony and won't even explain any of her rulings which to me tells me that she isn't going by the rules only her own opinion. How convenient it is for the DOJ to have her also assigned to the state cases as well. Since she has already made up her mind that Apple is guilty then it is pretty much a done deal with the state cases that cote will rule no matter what evidence or testimony Apple gives that she will rule Apple guilty again. I hope Apple will have some recourse to have another judge assigned to this case for the states. I see this as a complete waste of time and money for Apple to fight this in her court room with the way she handled the first case and her lack of following the rules as a judge.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    As Samsung has proven, losing and paying for that loss are 2 separate things, possibly divided by years of legal wrangling until monies are actually exchanged, if ever.

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