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US: Apple slams eBooks judge for bias in damages trial

 |  March 9, 2014

Apple has slammed Judge Denise Cote and called for her to recuse herself from proceedings that could determine damages Apple will have to pay for its involvement in an eBooks price-fixing scheme, say reports.

Judge Cote is set to rule in a damages trial as states seek damages from the collusion after Judge Cote ruled against Apple in the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the company. While the DOJ did not seek monetary damages, states and consumers have filed their own class actions against the company and are now seeking damages.

As Apple appeals Judge Cote’s decision that found Apple guilty of the collusion, the company is also working to prevent that same judge from deciding whether Apple should pay damages, or how much the damages will be, in these law suits.

In a filing made last month but made public last week, Apple said that previous statements by Judge Cote show that she “cannot serve as an impartial arbiter” in the damages trial.

Those impartial remarks, the iPhone maker said, were made in her January order that denied Apple’s request to have its external monitor temporarily removed from service.

The monitor was appointed by Judge Cote to oversee Apple’s antitrust compliance. When Apple requested to have that monitor removed from service, Judge Cote said that “consumers of eBooks – including Apple’s own consumers – suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in harm.”

That statement, Apple argues, means Judge Cote is in no place to determine without bias how much, if anything, Apple should pay in damages, and that the statement shows “that the Court has already decided what plaintiffs must ‘conclusively prove’” in their pursuit of a summary judgment of damages.

Full Content: Publishers Weekly

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