Judge Limits Apple Antitrust Monitor, Rejects Appeal

Despite a court order, Apple has been unwilling to cooperate with an independent monitor who was put in place to check-in on the company following an e-book pricing scandal. The tech giant attempted to remove the monitor altogether and while it was unsuccessful in its appeal, a pane of judges have now placed some limitations on the antitrust monitor.

Judge Limits Apple Antitrust Monitor, Rejects AppealApple had submitted an appeal requesting that Washington lawyer Michael R. Bromwich be completely removed but the judges did not agree to those terms, meaning that Bromwich will now be able to return to his post.

Some of the concerns voiced by the Cupertino-based tech company did resonate with three-judge panel however, and in their ruling, some guidelines were provided to limit how far Bromwich can go in requesting documents and interviews with Apple employees.

Awarding civil penalties in addition to treble damages would raise a host of constitutional and other problems…Awarding civil penalties on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars plaintiffs seek in treble damages would constitute an excessive and disproportionate punishment. – Theodore Boutrous, lawyer, Apple

Apple has repeatedly stated that a monitor is simply an intrusion that is not conducive to its ability to conduct business. While the company was found to be involved with an e-book price fixing scandal, Apple claims that it is already working on a comprehensive plan that will prevent any future illegal business practices.

According to Apple, Bromwich had overstepped the boundaries initially set out by a July court order. Bromwich reportedly asked for interviews with Apple CEO Tim Cook as well as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, a board member. Along with requesting interviews that did not appear justifiable in Apple’s opinion, Bromwich also proposed a remarkably high $1,100 hourly rate.

The appeals court order stands by the original ruling in July by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote. In her ruling, Cote found that Apple had engaged in illegal business practices and therefore, an antitrust monitor would be necessary along with guidelines preventing the company from engaging in any price deals with media partners.

Later this year, Apple will be forced to go through another round of litigation in front of Judge Cote.

Summary: A three-judge panel has rejected Apple’s appeal which had insisted that a court-appointed antitrust monitor be removed.

(Image Credit: guardianlv)

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