Big business may not have had so much luck in court appealing court-appointed monitors, but Apple’s first 2nd Circuit appeals court victory could be a ray of hope on the horizon.
On Jan. 21, U.S. Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier Jr. granted Apple’s request for a temporary delay of the court-ordered monitor assigned to oversee Apple e-book prices. Apple has fought with monitor Michael Bromwich over lawyer fees and job responsibilities since his appointment in October.
The delay will last until a three-judge appeals panel can hear Apple’s case for a longer onr, which Lohier says will happen “as soon as possible.” The court said that the government has until Jan. 24 to file an objection to the delay.
In addition to the delay of monitor enforcement, Lohier also ruled that the connected e-book antitrust case currently before a federal judge in Manhattan should be temporarily halted as well.
The appeal court’s ruling comes less than one week after U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote rejected Apple’s request to remove Bromwich from his post. In her ruling, Cote said that Apple “failed to show” it is in the “the public interest” to remove Bromwich from his post, and she claimed that his appointment posed no “irreparable harm” to the company.
“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 on Jan. 16. “If anything, Apple's reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition.”
Apple originally filed suit against Bromwich in early December 2013, claiming Bromwich charged exorbitant amounts for his services. Because Bromwich was court appointed without competition, Apple contended, he had free reign to charge whatever he wished without oversight. Apple also claimed that Bromwich took liberties in his duties as monitor.
“The external compliance monitor appointed by the court…is conducting a nonjudicial, inquisitorial, roaming investigation that is interfering with Apple's business operations,” Apple lawyer Theodore Boutrous said during the district court hearing.
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