Apple takes aim not just at court-ordered e-books monitor, but also at U.S. District Judge Denise Cote herself

“On Thanksgiving eve, Apple filed court papers launching a searing attack on the court-ordered monitor who had been appointed barely a month earlier to oversee its compliance with an antitrust decree relating to its sale of ebooks” Roger Parloff reports for Fortune. “Apple accused the monitor, Michael Bromwich, a partner at the law firm of Goodwin Procter, of charging excessive fees, behaving in an ‘unfettered and inappropriate manner,’ relying on ‘secret communications with the court,’ evincing ‘incredibly disruptive’ mission creep, and acting in ways that threatened to turn him into an ‘quasi-inquisitional” offshoot of the federal judge who appointed him in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers.'”

“The more eye-catching of Apple’s claims were its accusations that Bromwich was already insisting on meeting every member of Apple’s executive team and board, including former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Jr., and the company’s legendary product designer, Sir Jonathan Ive—neither of whom had anything to do with antitrust compliance issues, according to Apple,” Parloff reports. “In addition, the papers noted, Bromwich was demanding that Apple pay a 15% ‘administrative fee’ to his consulting firm on top of his $1,100 hourly rate and the $1,025 hourly fee of antitrust lawyer Bernard Nigro, who was appointed to assist him because of Bromwich’s lack of antitrust experience. (Nigro heads the antitrust group at the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where Bromwich was a partner from 1999 to 2010.)”

“But legal fees are clearly not the crux of this dispute,” Parloff reports. “It was, rather, Apple’s last claim—accusing Bromwich of simultaneously playing a quasi-prosecutorial role and yet answering directly to the judge—which may be the most significant. It signals that Apple is taking aim not just at Bromwich, but also at U.S. District Judge Denise Cote herself. The immediate triggering event for Apple’s tirade was an order by Judge Cote issued on November 21, proposing that Bromwich be permitted to hold regular ex parte meetings with herself—that is, meetings where only she and he would be present and where no transcript would be made to preserve a record of what was said… In its Thanksgiving eve submission, Apple demanded to know if such ex parte meetings had already occurred, and suggested that such meetings, if they ever were to occur, would be a grounds for recusing Judge Cote.. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This continuing kerfluffle likely stems from the fact that Denise Cote is a vacuous twit.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Arline M.,” “David O.,” and “JES42” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
In pretrial view, judge says leaning toward U.S. DOJ over Apple in e-books case – May 24, 2013
Lawyers have complained for years that Judge Denise Cote pre-judges cases before she enters the courtroom – August 14, 2013

U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge Denise Cote assigns DOJ monitor in Apple ebook price-fixing case – October 17, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge issues injunction against Apple in ebooks antitrust case; largely in line with what DOJ wanted – September 6, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge Denise Cote says Apple needs third-party supervision after ‘blatant’ ebook price fixing – August 28, 2013
Apple e-book judge Cote makes short work of Apple’s list of nine evidentiary ‘errors’ – August 15, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Apple faces possible May 2014 trial on e-book damages – August 15, 2013
le-in-e-books-case/”>In pretrial view, judge says leaning toward U.S. DOJ over Apple in e-books case – May 24, 2013
Judge Denise Cote scolds Apple for being ‘unrepentant’ in e-book antitrust case – August 12, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: U.S. District Judge Denise Cote erred during e-books trial, Apple says – August 9, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Cupertino wants a stay in e-books case; DOJ claims publishers are conspiring again – August 9, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: DOJ seeks wide-ranging oversight of iTunes Store – August 2, 2013
Apple rejects U.S. DOJ’s proposed e-book penalties as ‘a draconian and punitive intrusion’ – August 2, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: DOJ wants to force Apple to revamp e-book practices – August 2, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Cupertino could get smacked with $500 million bill in ebook case – July 25, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple verdict could end the book as we know it – July 11, 2013
U.S. DOJ unwittingly causes further consolidation, strengthens Amazon’s domination of ebook industry – July 11, 2013
Where’s the proof that Apple conspired with publishers on ebook pricing? – July 10, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple ruling could allow U.S. government to monitor, interfere with future Apple negotiations – July 10, 2013
Judge Denise Cote likely wrote most of her U.S.A. v. Apple ebooks case decision before the trial – July 10, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: NY judge rules Apple colluded to fix ebook prices, led illegal conspiracy, violated U.S. antitrust laws – July 10, 2013
In U.S.A. v. Apple e-books case, witness Barnes & Noble VP Theresa Horner was everything Apple could hope for – June 19, 2013
The Apple e-books trial takes a detour into the absurd – June 18, 2013
Steve Jobs, Winnie the Pooh and the iBookstore Launch – June 17, 2013
Apple set to present its defense in e-book antitrust case – June 17, 2013
Steve Jobs was initially opposed to entering the e-book market – June 14, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: DOJ’s last best chance in e-book case has passed – June 14, 2013
Obama admin trying to throw the book at Apple; U.S. DOJ goes after an innovator whose market entry reduced prices – June 13, 2013
Apple’s Eddy Cue denies price-fixing allegations at U.S v. Apple e-books trial – June 13, 2013
Apple fires back at DOJ with email Steve Jobs actually sent – June 13, 2013
Is Steve Jobs’ unsent email a smoking gun in Apple e-book case? – June 12, 2013
Winds shift toward Apple in U.S. DOJ’s e-book trial – June 12, 2013
Day 5 of the Apple ebooks trial: Publishing execs testify; Rupert Murdoch’s role – June 11, 2013
U.S. v. Apple iBookstore case could go to the Supreme Court – June 5, 2013
Apple accuses DOJ of unfairly twisting Steve Jobs’ words in e-book case – June 4, 2013
U.S. DOJ prosecutors accuse Apple of driving up e-book prices – June 3, 2013
U.S. v. Apple goes to trial; DOJ claims e-book price-fixing conspiracy with Apple as ringmaster – June 3, 2013
U.S. DOJ takes Apple to trial alleging e-book price-fixing – June 2, 2013
Penguin to pay $75 million in e-book settlement with US State Attorneys General – May 23, 2013
The hot mess that is Apple’s e-book legal fight with U.S. DOJ – May 16, 2013
Apple: Deals with publishers improved e-books competition – May 15, 2013
Apple tells U.S. DOJ of tough talks, not collusion, with publishers – May 15, 2013
EU ends e-book pricing antitrust probe into e-book pricing; accepts offer by Apple, four publishers – December 13, 2012
Apple, publishers offer EU e-book antitrust settlement – September 19, 2012
Judge rubber-stamps U.S. e-books settlement – September 6, 2012
Apple, four publishers offer e-books antitrust concessions, says source – August 31, 2012
Apple bashes Amazon, calls U.S. DOJ settlement proposal ‘fundamentally unfair, unlawful, and unprecedented’ – August 16, 2012
U.S. antitrust settlement with e-book publishers should be approved, feds say – August 4, 2012
U.S. Justice Department slams Apple, refuses to modify e-book settlement – July 23, 2012
U.S. senator Schumer: Myopic DOJ needs to drop Apple e-books suit – July 18, 2012
Apple’s U.S. e-books antitrust case set for 2013 trial – June 24, 2012
U.S. government complains, claims Apple trying to rush e-books antitrust case – June 21, 2012
Barnes & Noble blasts U.S. DOJ e-book settlement proposal – June 7, 2012
Apple: U.S. government’s e-book antitrust lawsuit ‘is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law’ – May 24, 2012
Federal Judge rejects Apple and publishers’ attempt to dismiss civil case alleging e-book price-fixing – May 15, 2012
Court documents reveal Steve Jobs email pushing e-book agency model; 17 more states join class action suit – May 15, 2012
Apple vs. Amazon: Who’s really fixing eBook prices? – April 17, 2012
Apple: U.S. DOJ’s accusation of collusion against iBookstore is simply not true – April 12, 2012
Apple not likely to be a loser in legal fight over eBooks – April 12, 2012
16 U.S. states join DOJ’s eBook antitrust action against Apple, publishers – April 12, 2012
Australian gov’t considers suing Apple, five major publishers over eBook pricing – April 12, 2012
DOJ’s panties in a bunch over Apple and eBooks, but what about Amazon? – April 12, 2012
Antitrust experts: Apple likely to beat U.S. DOJ, win its eBook lawsuit – April 12, 2012
Why the market shrugged off the Apple antitrust suit – April 11, 2012
What’s wrong with the U.S. DOJ? – April 11, 2012
Macmillan CEO blasts U.S. DOJ; gov’t on verge of killing real competition for appearance of competition – April 11, 2012
U.S. DOJ hits Apple, major publishers with antitrust lawsuit, alleges collusion on eBook prices – April 11, 2012
U.S. DOJ may sue Apple over ebook price-fixing as early as today, sources say – April 11, 2012


  1. Unbelievable. The more I think about this case the more I think that the government wants Amazon to run on fumes for as long as possible, since it helps the economy and therefore the current administration look better fiscally. Apple challenges them and the government far exceed their judicial powers to make an example of them.

    Who cares if Walmart and Amazon create unsustainable businesses that destroy smaller business as long as they can point to a chart showing economic growth in the US.

      1. What gall, charging extra because he lacks the expertise to do the task he was appointed to do … “lack of antitrust experience” … what a judge, what an anal-orifice. Two incompetents, birds of a feather.

        1. Usually you get shown the door or taken off the project if you don’t have the skills do the job you were hired to do—not allowed to charge MORE! Where can I get a job like that?

      2. I’m not sure it’s an overreach when a case like this can add an upward arrow on the US economy over the course of 2 terms, but a staggering mess when they’re left with the monopoly that is Amazon afterwards.

        1. There are plenty of incompetent people in the world both female AND male. I have had the “pleasure” to work with both. Incompetency and/or stupidity is not gender (or age) specific.

  2. I wasn’t aware of the ancillary billing fees: 15% administrative fee to Bromwich’s consulting firm on top of his $1100 hourly rate; the $1025 hourly fee to former Bromwich law partner Bernard Nigro.

    Thanks, Fortune!

        1. That’s just the entrance. Proving an ex parte meeting will be difficult. Cote, if complicit, will have covered her tracks.

          Apple’s appeal will be interesting.

        2. Wrong. The logs and cameras will show him entering and leaving the building. If he doesn’t meet with any other personnel in the building, he’s meeting with Cote. Plus, the cameras in her courtroom, clerk’s chambers, the hallways leading to her courtroom, etc. will show him there.

  3. Cote is obviously accustomed to railroading defendants who aren’t able to defend themselves as Apple can. I hope that when the dust settles, she’s disbarred and behind bars.


    1. Apple’s appeal is precisely why Apple made this filing. Apple is protesting and fighting Cote’s ruling at every step, and therefore can show the appellate court that it did everything in its power to get her to reconsider, to oppose the large fees, etc.

  4. Let’s express our disgust with the judges non-judicial temperament, without the vulgarity towards her being a female. We should have even more women as judges but we should have no judges who over-reach or tolerate outrageous fees. Problems is that Judges are lawyers permitting other lawyers to gorge themselves at great cost to the public good.

    1. While I agree with your stance on not using vulgarity, particularly as Road Warrior used, your last sentence is ridiculous. The fees in this case are high, but that is the price the world’s most valuable company must pay because of the expertise required to handle the complexity of the situation. Experts in any field charge significantly more than those who have much less training and experience. And courts must appoint attorneys who are experts at what they do.

      However, those billing rates are rather shocking.

  5. So the idiot lawyer has the audacity to charge $1,100 an hour to learn about anti trust rules (and simultaneously throw his weight around) while his tutor gets $1,025 an hour to teach him?

    If the two get together for a training session and have an admin taking notes a one hour meeting costs Apple $2,500 or more?

    And the judge and lawyer want to have truly secret meetings about this case in order to plan what more accusations to throw at Apple?

    As far as I’m concerned Cote cross the line many, many months ago when she issued a statement on her position before the trial even started. (Nothing like making your mind up even before hearing all the facts.) Now she has gone so far that even the appeals court must see that she’s gone completely off the deep end.

    Is this grounds for disbarment? Likely not. (Even if she’s already had secret meetings.)
    Is this grounds for forcing her off the case? Probably (Especially if she’s already had secret meetings.)
    Is this grounds for any sane justice on the appeals court to tell her to get her act together and stop this nonsense? Absolutely

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  6. Although you may dislike the stance you think the judge took, there is no need to present your misogynistic sexist attitude and weaken your case. It really just shows that you are in a league below the judge and makes it sound like you are irritated by the people in the trailer next to you.

  7. If I were being paid $1,100 per hour, I would want to meet with every single Apple employee, including all the Apple store employees.

    . . . and ex-Apple employees, and their families, and employees of Foxconn, and . . .

  8. Cote is not a “vacuous twit” but an inquisitor of Fascist proportions worthy of the appellation Stalinist or Maoist who’s followers prosecuted the greatest men of both CCCP and China to confess to being heinous criminals at the behest of ideology driven idiots.

    Today that disease has infected USA where police, FBI and other officials can’t add nor join dots when people point to problems (9/11, Madoff or 2008 Financial crisis) but will imprison everyone under draconian rules upon conviction.

    I’m afraid that when I said previously that the only cause of Apple’s downfall would be Goldman Sachs entering and rifling Apple’s jewels, I was wrong. Well add Uncle Sam. It is third rate Fed officers that through nepotism have got good positions that will destroy Apple and ultimately USA with their Kafkaesque demands for confession of unknown crimes.*

    Watch history occur that leads to the end of USA. Usama will be happy in paradise with only 70 virgins seeing USA destroy itself!!

    * Puritanism is the catchword for USA. The Just must punish. Punishment whether in Salem or Cupertino must be exacted. Some one must suffer. But not the Feds or Judges or Lawyers or Cops or members of powerful unions or those that donate millions to re elect Congressmen or the rich or the influential or my friends not US but only THEM. Not Microsoft. Not Google. Not Samsung. But the honest, the hardworking, the fools who believe in honesty paying for music, paying a fellow man his due, giving a fellow respect regardless of race, creed, color, gender or wealth – they must PAY! they must Suffer!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.