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Hagens Berman Appointed Lead Counsel In Hotel Price-fixing Case

SEATTLE, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, a consumer-protection law firm, today announced that it has been named interim lead counsel in a price-fixing class-action lawsuit brought against several online travel sites including Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE); Travelocity; Booking.com, a subsidiary of Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN), as well as many of the nation's largest hotel operators including Hilton Hotel; Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, a subsidiary of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (NYSE:HOT), and Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR).

The suit -- originally filed Aug. 20, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and later consolidated in the Northern District of Texas -- seeks to represent a class of hotel-room purchasers nationally, claiming that the online hotel retailers conspired with major hotel defendants to craft a secret agreement designed to thwart competition on hotel room prices, especially from smaller price-cutting online retailers.

U.S. District Court Judge Jane J. Boyle today announced that Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro is best suited to lead the case after a highly competitive process in which nearly two dozen firms sought the lead-counsel position.

As lead counsel, HBSS managing partner Steve W. Berman will lead the case, managing the strategy and marshaling the resources of the law firms participating.

"We are very pleased that the court chose us to represent consumers in this case," Berman said. "I believe our extensive work in researching these sorts of anti-competitive agreements between online retailers and hotel chains lead the judge to make his pick over many other firms who sought the role by simply mirroring the hard work of others.

"We thank the more than 20 law firms that supported our motion for lead counsel," Berman added.

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