On November 30, 2022, and January 13, 2023, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice hosted the Class Counsel to formerly present and seek approval of the Settlement Agreement and Claims Administration Protocol. On March 7, 2023, the Court issued an endorsement approving the Settlement Agreement and Claims Administration Protocol.
Andrew Morganti 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 British Columbia and Québec, permitting the actions to be prosecuted nationally.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
If you do NOT want to participate in the Proposed Settlement, you MUST exclude yourself by completing and sending an Opt-Out Request Form to the Claims Administrator by no later than November 11, 2022.
If you opt out, you will keep any right to bring your own lawsuit, but will not receive the benefit of this proposed settlement. Please note, if you do opt out, limitation periods that may bar your claim will begin to run again. If you do not opt out of the actions by November 11, 2022, you will be bound by the proposed settlement if it is approved by the Courts and will not be able to opt out of the actions in the future.
OBJECTING TO THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
To comment on or object to the Proposed Settlement, you can write to Class Counsel, or make your representations during the Settlement Approval Hearings.
Please do not write directly to the presiding judges or the Courts. Written comments and objection received in advance of the settlement hearings will be provided to the Courts by Class Counsel.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS
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.