Judge rejects Apple request to remove court-appointed monitor

A district judge claimed Apple failed to prove the removal would be in the public’s best interest

The ongoing fight between Apple and court-appointed monitor Michael Bromwich will continue after one district judge ruled that Bromwich should not be removed from his post.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled on Jan. 16 that Apple “failed to show” it is in the “the public interest” to remove Bromwich from his post overseeing Apple’s e-book pricing regulations. Cote also denied an Apple request to delay regulatory oversight, saying the governmental regulations posed no “irreparable harm” to the company.

The federal government put the monitor in place after the Department of Justice (DOJ) ruled that Apple conspired to fix e-book prices in an attempt to dominate the market in July 2013. The DOJ ruled in August that Apple had to cancel agreements it had with five publishers, as well as retain an antitrust monitor for ten years to make sure the company did not fix prices once again. Bromwich was appointed as monitor in October.

But Apple did not take the regulatory actions lying down. In early December 2013, Apple filed to have Bromwich removed from his post, claiming that the attorney charged exorbitant fees for his work. “Mr. Bromwich appears to be simply taking advantage of the fact that there is no competition here or, in his view, any ability on the part of Apple, the subject of his authority, to push back on his demands,” Apple’s lawyers said in their December filing.

However, in the newest ruling, Judge Cote disagreed with Apple’s characterization. According to The Wall Street Journal, Cote wrote that because Apple’s “highest executives” caused consumers “hundreds of millions of dollars in harm” through fixed e-book prices, any ruling she makes should consider the public’s best interest first.

 “While Apple would prefer to have no Monitor, it has failed to show that it is in the public interest to stop his work,” Judge Cote wrote in her 64-page opinion. “If anything, Apple's reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition.”

 

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