Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
|April 15, 2009
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
|en Español||Print Version||Tweet|
Attorney General Negotiates Settlement With Publishing Company, LexisNexis
~ Settlement resolves nationwide issues related to automatic subscription renewals ~
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has reached an agreement with Matthew Bender and Company, Inc. and related company Reed Elsevier, Inc., which does business as LexisNexis. Matthew Bender and Company, Inc. manufactures and sells publications, books, newsletters and other products to lawyers, libraries, and government agencies nationwide. The settlement resolved issues related to the companies’ automatic subscription renewal policy and automatic shipment plans. LexisNexis contributes to the advertising and sale of Matthew Bender products.
The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division began investigating Matthew Bender and Reed Elsevier after a staff member with the Attorney General’s Office received a Florida Bar publication which he had not ordered, together with a bill stating that he owed Matthew Bender for the cost of the book. The investigation revealed that Matthew Bender sent new editions and updates of publications automatically to customers who had previously purchased the publications, sometimes several years prior, and renewed annual subscriptions automatically, allegedly without specific consent from consumers.
As part of the settlement, refunds will be offered to all Florida customers who paid for automatic shipments of Florida Bar publications or who received their first automatic shipments of certain types of publications after February 13, 2005. Matthew Bender will send claim forms to all customers who are entitled to request refunds. The companies will also pay $275,000 to the Florida State University Law School’s Richard W. Ervin Eminent Scholar Chair, which was established in 1999 by then-Attorney General Bob Butterworth.
In addition to the payment to the law school and the customer refunds, the companies will pay $2 million to the Attorney General’s Office for attorneys' fees and costs and for future investigation and enforcement. The companies will also modify their practices nationwide to ensure that automatic shipment arrangements and automatic renewal subscriptions of Matthew Bender publications are entered into only after all appropriate disclosures detailed in the agreement are provided to customers and the customers provide affirmative consent to the terms. The companies cooperated fully with the Attorney General’s investigation.
This is the second agreement reached with companies in the law book industry which use automatic shipments to distribute publications to libraries, government agencies and law firms in Florida. The earlier agreement was reached with Thompson Publishing Group, Inc. in May 2008.
A copy of the agreement is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KGRG-7R5JAQ/$file/MatthewBenderAVC.pdf