Book wholesaler Baker & Taylor and its former parent company W. R. Grace agreed August 2 to pay $15.5 million to settle allegations that they overcharged schools and libraries for books over more than 10 years. B&T, after spending five years in litigation with the U.S. government over an alleged violation of the False Claims Act, settled with the Department of Justice in July 1999 in return for release from all federal civil liability.
The new settlement releases both companies from all claims without admitting any wrongdoing. Grace agreed to pay the federal government $3 million, and both will pay a total of $12.5 million to the 18 states who joined the U.S. lawsuit in 1998.
Jim Ulsamer, president of Baker & Taylor Retail in Charlotte, North Carolina, said that “While we won’t have the satisfaction of being exonerated through the courts, this settlement—like the federal settlement—makes sound business sense.” He added that further litigation “could have disrupted our business for years.”
The lawsuit was originally brought in 1995 by Robert Costa, former director of the Richmond (Va.) Public Library, and Robert Thornburg, a former B&T sales representative.
Posted August 7, 2000.