Judge explains denial of request to remove e-book antitrust monitor in lengthy court filing
District Court Judge Denise Cote on Thursday filed an opinion and order detailing the reasoning behind her denial of Apple's request to remove an external antitrust compliance monitor, saying many of the arguments the company made are now moot.
In the 64-page document, Judge Cote offers an exhaustive opinion on her order to deny Apple's motion to remove court-appointed antitrust compliance monitor Michael Bromwich. With the filing, the jurist fulfills a promise made on Monday to explain the reasoning behind her decision.
From Judge Cote's opinion and order:
In brief, many of the arguments which Apple once made (and is no longer pursuing) have been waived or are moot. In addition, Apple has access to a dispute resolution mechanism which has and will be in place to ensure that the Monitor does not exceed the bounds of the Injunction. Finally, there has been no showing that the Monitor should be disqualified or that Apple will suffer irreparable harm. For these and all of the other reasons stated herein, Apple's request for a stay is denied.
The lengthy filing begins with an in-depth background of the situation, which describes a continual locking of horns between Apple and Bromwich. Troubles began almost immediately after the ECM — tasked with ensuring Apple does not engage in further illegal price fixing activities — was appointed to the monitorship in October.
Bromwich's assigned task is a direct result of Judge Cote's ruling that found Apple culpable in an e-book price fixing scheme played out through the iBookstore.
Thursday's filing gives a run down of Apple's main complaints. The company takes issue with Bromwich's fee structure, which will cost millions of dollars over the ECM's tenure; his allegedly "unconstitutional" wide-roving inspection of current operations; and an overstepping of bounds in demanding interviews with top Apple executives and board members who play no role in day-to-day operations, especially those dealing with the iBookstore.
Apple formally aired its grievances to the court in a number of filings, to which Bromwich filed his own declaration rebutting the claims. Further, the monitor noted a distinct lack of willingness to participate on the part of Apple. This, Apple claimed, was grounds for dismissal as it brought Bromwich's impartiality into question.
Judge Cote's take on the situation:
The deterioration of the relationship between Apple and the Monitor is unfortunate and disappointing. Hopefully, that relationship can be "reset" and placed on a productive course. But it is strongly in the public's interest for the Monitor to remain in place. A monitorship which succeeds in confirming the existence of a genuine and effective antitrust compliance program within Apple, is in the interest of not only the American public, but also Apple.
Judge Cote thus denies Apple's request to remove Bromwich and, subsequently, the company's motion to suspend her initial injunction ruling.
To appeal today's order, Apple must file a motion to stay with the Second Circuit by Saturday.