Apple Loses Bid to Disqualify Antitrust Monitor

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said a lower court judge did not abuse her discretion in rejecting Apple's bid to disqualify Michael Bromwich as monitor. Bromwich, a lawyer, was installed in October 2013 by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, three months after she found Apple had played a "central role" in a conspiracy with publishers to raise e-book prices, the subject of litigation brought by the U.S. government and more than 30 U.S. states. Apple has since repeatedly sought Bromwich's ouster. It has accused him of collaborating improperly with the plaintiffs, being too aggressive in examining its business practices and demanding interviews with executives, and charging excessive fees that began at $1,100 an hour before being reduced. Writing for the appeals court, Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs said some of Apple's allegations against Bromwich "give pause," particularly one instance in which Bromwich worked with the plaintiffs in opposing a court motion filed by Apple and submitted an affidavit in support. But he said that on the record, "we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion" in finding that this did not require Bromwich's disqualification.