It looks like the long anticipated e-book price-fixing case against Apple is still a go for June 3, but a key question still remains: Will Penguin be joining Apple at the defense table? Late last week, Judge Denise Cote agreed to move the case's final pretrial conference back to May 23, but barring an unexpected development, the trial remains set to begin in a New York City court room on June 3, just two days after BookExpo America ends its 2013 run.
That means time is running out for Penguin to settle remaining claims against them and avoid participating in the consolidated bench trial, which will litigate price-fixing claims from cases filed by the Department of Justice, a group of state attorneys general, and the consumer class action, led by Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman.
Clearly, Penguin is not eager to join the bench trial. The publisher, which settled claims with the DoJ last December, asked the court in late March to grant them a separate jury trial to hear the remaining unsettled claims from the states and the consumer class. Judge Cote, however, denied that request, ruling that Penguin must join Apple as defendants in the June 3 bench trial.
Recently, Macmillan, which like Peguin had orginally vowed to fight the charges at trial, finalized a final deal with the states and consumer class that will cost them around $26 million.