Its a classic question that gets brought up when the details of any intriguing story start to surface.
And some industry insiders are asking it in relation to the antitrust charges being brought against Apple and a group of book publishers over alleged collusion on the pricing of e books.
Steve Berman is an Americanplaintiff’s lawyer who founded and is Managing Partner of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a 42 attorney law firm based in Seattle, Washington.
Since mid 2010, Hagens Berman has been headquartered inside 1918 Eighth Avenue, a sleek 36 story skyscraper in downtown Seattles Denny Regrade neighborhood.
In March of 2011 it got a new neighbor: Amazon started leasing out a very sizable chunk within 1918 Eighth some 460,000 square feet for its own downtown Seattle pied a terre in March 2011.
Just a few months later, Amazon was reportedly looking to expand its footprint in the building by some 300,000 additional square feet.
Amazon now accounts for more than two thirds of the entire buildings office space, according to the Wikipedia entry on 1918 Eighth.
Now, in an expansive and modern building like 1918 Eighth, its very unlikely that folks at Hagens Berman and Amazon share a watercooler or anything.
In opposing the motion, Hagens Berman argued that such a move would be too costly for individuals to pursue on their own thereby “prevent plaintiffs from effectively vindicating their rights under the antitrust law.”.
But either way, the proximity is something thats being snarked about especially among those in the tech and publishing industries who feel the antitrust claims are misguided in the first place.
For more than a year now, Hagens Berman has been a whistleblower on the alleged e book price fixing situation in general.
Separately from the motion to dismiss, Penguin had filed a motion asking the court to make members of the class action lawsuit who bought e books from Amazon and BN.com move directly to arbitration to resolve that matter and stay the court proceedings.
We refused to be held hostage by frivolous class action lawsuits, and now we’ve been vindicated.
And this week, the whole situation entered a national stage when the United States Department of Justice filed its own antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five major book publishers.
The DOJ complaint is separate from the one Hagens Berman is co leading but it is understood to be an incalculable boon to Hagens Bermans cause.
Apple, for its part, has officially denied the DOJs collusion charges, saying in a statement to AllThingsD that its work toward breaking Amazons monopolistic grip on the publishing industry was done fair and square.
Three of the five publishers charged in the case HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette have already agreed to settle with the DOJ.
Macmillan and Penguin have each professed innocence and vowed to fight the case in court, while Simon & Schuster has Its important to stress that Hagens Berman is not working on behalf of Amazon in its suit against Apple and the publishers it is working on behalf of consumers, in a class action suit.
But its clear that Amazon certainly stands to benefit from the charges against Apple and the accused publishers.
And the very fact that the first law firm to blow the whistle on the case is literally so close to the cases largest potential corporate beneficiary is raising a few eyebrows.
Weve reached out to Hagens Berman for comment, and will update this post with any additional information we receive.
UPDATE: Hagens Berman partner Steve Berman sent this comment via email: Its fascinating speculation, we began working on the case even before Amazon moved in here and we are not doing Amazons bidding.
Victor Arrington is a business journalist based in Orange, California. Victor has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Victor spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.