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Judge Says Apple’s Objections to E-Book Monitor Show Why He’s Needed

Judge Says Apple’s Objections to E-Book Monitor Show Why He’s Needed

To be filed under “If you don’t like it, then it must be good for you.” U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said Apple’s objections to a court-appointed e-book antitrust monitor simply confirms how important it is to have him in place to monitor the company.

Gavel

Reuters:

“If anything, Apple’s reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition,” U.S. District Judge Denise Cote wrote.

The judge’s comment on Thursday came via a 64-page opinion explaining why she had rejected Apple’s request to stay an order that installed external compliance monitor Michael Bromwich after she found Apple had conspired to fix pricing of e-books.

The judge has given Apple until Tuesday to file an appeal of her decision to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

While previously stating that Apple would indeed file an appeal, a lawyer for the company, Theodore Boutrous did not immediately comment on the written opinion.

Predictably, a Justice Department Spokesperson said the government was pleased with the judge’s decision.

Bromwich was appointed in October to monitor Apple’s conduct in e-book business dealings following Apple having been found liable for conspiring with five publishers to hike e-book prices.

As soon as November, Apple had complained that Bromwich was overly aggressive, and had improperly sought interviews with top executives and board members, a criticism Cote rejected in her opinion.

“A monitorship would be of little use at all if a monitor were only permitted to receive, review and opine on company-vetted documents,” she wrote. “Apple cites to no case holding that a monitor may never conduct interviews and there are many examples to the contrary.”

Apple also argued that Bromwich should be disqualified as he had shown bias toward the company by filing a response disputing Apple’s claims.

Cote found that Bromwich had simply responded to Apple’s allegations.

Apple has also challenged Bromwich’s fee of $1,100 per hour. Cote said there is nothing untoward about the fee, and that the Justice Department and the monitor offered to adjust his fee, but that Apple had not responded.

Cote will assign the fee dispute to a magistrate judge.

The judge initially denied Apple’s bid on Monday, but a full explanation of her reasoning was not known until todays opinion.

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