After SDNY U.S. District Judge Denise Cote found Apple guilty of colluding with five of the six largest publishers in the U..S. in an e-book price-fixing scheme, she appointed NAFUSA life member Michael Bromwich, shown above, to monitor Apple’s antitrust policies and procedures for two years.
But the work hasn’t been easy for Bromwich. In an article in this morning’s New York Times, entitled Secretive Apple Squirms in Gaze of U.S. Monitor, The Times reports,
Most companies are reluctant to open themselves to outside inspection. Yet Apple is even resisting someone who was appointed by a court to do exactly that, leading to an unusual public feud between the world’s biggest technology company and the Justice Department.
Apple is attempting to resist efforts by Bromwich to interview Apple board members and senior executives. They also complain about his hourly rate of $1,100. But at a hearing on Monday, January 13, Judge Cote told Apple and its lawyers “to stop wasting time and start cooperating with the monitor. Apple intends to appeal to the Second Circuit.
“Apple is no position to define the scope of the monitor’s duties,” said Judge Cote, who said she would soon issue a written decision that would amplify on her ruling at the hearing. “I want the monitorship to be a success for Apple.”
As to the issue of Bromwich’s fee,
But Judge Cote observed on Monday that “lawyers get paid a lot of money.”
She also pointed to a recent article in The National Law Journal that said it was not uncommon for top lawyers at a large law firm to bill clients at a rate of $1,000 an hour. Judge Cote noted that one lawyer at Gibson Dunn, one of the firms representing Apple, billed at a rate of $1,800 an hour.
[Note: on February 10, 2014, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals declined Apple’s motion to stay pending appeal and held Bromwich may continue while Apple purses its broader appeal to remove him. The Court did, however, hold their were some limits on what actions he might pursue as monitor.]