Attorneys at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll have negotiated a more than $200 million settlement in a class action for airline passengers, resolving a nearly two-year antitrust dispute with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways over price fixing. The settlement, which took a year and a half to hammer out, was reached yesterday in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California and applies to more than 8 million people in the U.S. and across the pond.
“It’s an unprecedented amount for this type of case," says Michael Hausfeld, name partner at Cohen Milstein’s D.C. office.
The airline companies were accused of overcharging travelers through a fuel surcharge from August 2004 to March 2006. In the settlement, passengers who flew during that period will recover up to $20 for each flight segment they were overcharged. After a Justice Department antitrust investigation into the matter, British Airways agreed in August to pay a $300 million criminal fine. But Virgin ducked criminal sanctions because it alerted authorities to the conspiracy. In the class action settlement, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett represented Virgin, and Sullivan & Cromwell advised British Airways