Updates from Around the Firm - Securities Newsletter May 2012

Court Selects Hagens Berman as Lead Counsel in E-books Case

A federal judge has appointed Hagens Berman lead counsel in a case alleging e-book publishers conspired with Apple to fix e-book prices. The complaint claims that five publishers forced Amazon to abandon its discount pricing and adhere to a new agency model in which publishers, rather than retailers, set prices.

Hagens Berman attorneys contend the deal was sparked by Apple, who had adopted a similar pricing model for content on the iTunes store. The company agreed to agency model deals with publishers that prevented e-books from being sold elsewhere for a lower price. The goal of these deals, according to the lawsuit, was to prevent rival retailers, especially Amazon, from discounting e-books, and thus undercutting Apple.

Following Amazon’s acquiescence to the publishers’ demands, the price of e-books reportedly skyrocketed. The lawsuit proposes a class of e-book consumers in several states across the country.

Federal Judge: Toyota Cannot Compel Arbitration in Acceleration Case

A federal judge has rejected Toyota’s motion to compel arbitration in a class-action lawsuit co-lead by Hagens Berman managing partner Steve Berman.

The case stems from claims made by Toyota owners and lessees that a defect causes their vehicles to experience sudden, unintended acceleration. They further allege that the defect has caused the values of their vehicles to plummet.

Toyota sought to have the claims handled in arbitration, rather than in federal court. United States District Judge James Selna rejected Toyota’s reasoning, holding that for 15 of the 20 plaintiffs, Toyota’s efforts to defend itself against the lawsuit for the last two years meant that it waived its rights to compel arbitration. For the other plaintiffs, Judge Selna ruled that Toyota was not a party to the relevant agreements and thus could not compel arbitration.

Hagens Berman Welcomes Mark S. Carlson to IP Practice

Hagens Berman recently added notable IP attorney Mark S. Carlson to its growing IP practice.

A seasoned veteran, Mr. Carlson has dedicated his legal practice to intellectual property since 1987 and has handled a full range of intellectual property litigation with a focus on patent infringement disputes.

The firm launched its intellectual property group in March 2011, with the opening of a new office in Minneapolis and the hiring of attorney Nicholas Boebel. The practice group is dedicated exclusively to representing plaintiffs in intellectual-property issues.

Tips for Trustees

It is a trustee’s fiduciary responsibility to decide when to take action to protect investments or collect their fund’s share of settlement proceeds. Hiring counsel to monitor a fund’s portfolio assists in this burden. Monitoring counsel help the trustees by assessing the fund’s options for maximum recovery and presenting those options in a user-friendly format.

Contact us to talk about how Hagens Berman’s Portfolio Monitoring Service can help protect your fund by emailing PortfolioMonitoring@hbsslaw.com or calling (510) 725-3000.