Judge Denise Cote Allows Australian Ebook Retailer to Sue Apple, Book Publishers

Posted on June 10, 2014

It's the lawsuit that never dies. The ebook price fixing lawsuit just got some new players. Publisher's Weekly reports that federal judge Denise Cotes is allowing a new party to proceed with its case against Apple and the major book publishers.

Australian ebook retailer DNAML sued Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin claiming that it was harmed as a result of the 2010 price-fixing scheme between the defendants. The scheme was brought to light by the U.S. Justice Department which eventually settled with all the publishers. Apple lost at trial but is still appealing. Two more plaintiffs showed up: Lavoho, LLC, the successor to the Diesel eBook Store and Abbey House Media.

Judge Denise Cote ruled that the DNAML suit can go forward, although she noted that proving damages would be difficult "in the extreme. But she also said that DNAML's "lost investment," in its business "may be reasonably quantifiable." She said, "It is more than plausible that a discount retailer was harmed by a conspiracy to remove retailers' ability to discount e-books."

The judge is including Lavoho and Abbey House Media in the next pretrial conference, so it's likely their cases will be consolidated with the DNAML suit. This ruling is a setback for the publishers who were hoping that this would be over after the settlement was approved.

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