The Wall Street Journal has a blistering editorial that attacks judge Denise Cote, who found Apple guilty of e-book price fixing.
It’s worth a read, but here are a few highlights with some commentary:
In July, Judge Cote of the New York federal district court convicted the iPad of being a conspiracy to increase digital book prices, though the tablet’s 2010 introduction increased competition and consumer choice and, er, lowered digital book prices. She then appointed her friend Michael Bromwich as an external monitor to review antitrust at Apple, which he has interpreted as carte blanche to act as the inquisitor of all things Cupertino.
Bromwich has become a key figure in the aftermath of Apple’s lawsuit. He is billing Apple $US1,100 per hour to keep tabs on the company. He’s also calling in a second law firm for help, because he has no experience in this area. In the first two weeks on the job, his bill to Apple was $US138,432.40.
He’s asking for meetings with all of Apple’s top executives including Tim Cook and Jony Ive. Cote wants Bromwich to meet with her on a monthly basis and detail everything he’s finding without an Apple attorney present, which the Journal says is “flatly unconstitutional.”
It adds, “Special masters are typically imposed on a company to remedy a pattern of especially egregious conduct using a settlement consent decree in which litigants agree to the terms of the appointment. Judge Cote foisted Mr. Bromwich on Apple over its objections, to punish the company for what she ruled was price-fixing when the late Jobs tried to alter the payment structure of e-books in December 2009 and January 2010.”
Cote gave up her request for secret communications after objections from Apple.
That’s not enough for the Journal, it says, “The Second Circuit where her ruling is on appeal should remove her from the case. Her condominium with Mr. Bromwich is offensive to the rule of law and a disgrace to the judiciary.”
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