Judge: Apple iPod trial will continue despite no plaintiff in case

“After a decade of legal wrangling and a week in front of a jury, lawyers accusing Apple of building a digital music monopoly still lack one key ingredient in their class action: a plaintiff,” Julia Love reports for The Mercury News.

“U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers threw plaintiffs lawyers a curve ball Monday afternoon, rejecting their lone class representative because she did not purchase an iPod covered by the case,” Love reports. “Plaintiffs will have until Tuesday to present another person who can represent the roughly 8 million iPod owners included in the class, plaintiffs lawyer Bonny Sweeney said. The consumer would then be questioned by Apple lawyers to ensure he or she belongs in the case.”

Love reports, “Although a class action cannot survive without a plaintiff, Apple lawyer William Isaacson insisted that he did not want to win in court on a technicality. ‘We were not thrilled with this,’ he told Gonzalez Rogers. ‘We want to win this case on the merits, and we think we’re going to.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s Eddy Cue explains why DRM for music was a necessary evil – December 5, 2014
Apple iPod judge asks if lack of plaintiff dooms trial – December 5, 2014
Apple on trial: Were iTunes updates really an anti-consumer scheme?
Steve Jobs on RealNetworks in 2011 deposition: ‘Do they still exist?’ – December 3, 2014
Steve Jobs said Apple took pains to protect record contracts – December 3, 2014
Star witness in Apple lawsuit is Steve Jobs – December 1, 2014
How to kill the DRM in your old iTunes Store music purchases – March 18, 2014
Apple asks judge to dismiss FairPlay lawsuit following Steve Jobs’ deposition – April 19, 2011
Apple’s iTunes Store goes DRM-free and 3G via iPhone; variable pricing coming soon – January 6, 2009
Major music cartels demand concessions from Apple before inking DRM-free iTunes Store music deals – December 15, 2008
RealNetworks ‘Harmony’ stops working on iPods but nobody notices for a month and a half – December 15, 2004
Real’s online petition for music ‘freedom’ backfires bigtime – August 17, 2004
Real cracks Apple’s Fairplay; to sell iPod-compatible songs without Apple’s authorization – July 25, 2004
Jobs to Glaser: Go pound sand – April 16, 2004

41 Comments

      1. The government’s DOJ found Microsoft guilty of antitrust monopoly abuse, and whacked Microsoft good by ordering it broken up.

        Then the newly elected government took over, and its DOJ cozied up to Microsoft and let them off the hook scott free.

  1. Yeah, screw the law. Let’s go find somebody, anybody, so that this case, which has no merit, can go forward. God forbid that the court system would let Apple go unpunished for something it didn’t do.

    The USA is in dire need of common sense and goodness which appears to be lacking in the judicial arena at present!

    1. Well, in this case, Apple’s counsel asked for the trial to proceed, even if a proper plaintiff cannot be found. It is the judge that wants to toss out the case (she gave the plaintiff’s attorneys until today to find a qualifying plaintiff, or the case is thrown out).

  2. “Apple lawyer William Isaacson insisted that he did not want to win in court on a technicality.”

    Well, no. Why would he want to win at all? If he wins on a technicality, he doesn’t get paid for a long, drawn out court case going nowhere.

      1. The retainer just means the firm can’t work for other parties against Apple or companies/persons whom Apple may have conflicts with. The firm still gets paid hourly.

      2. They work on a per hour billed basis. . . and time in trial is billed at a MUCH higher rate than time just doing preparation for trial. . . like four or five times higher rate. At the rarefied legal aeries these legal eagles resides, that may be as much as $5000 or $6000 an hour for time spent sitting in court!

  3. Translation: Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is not going to let herself miss out on this golden opportunity to get her 15 minutes of fame of presiding over a case involving Apple. I wanna get in the newspaper–find me some plaintiffs dammit!

    1. It looks like we aren’t talking about the same trial.

      Judge have them until today do show a qualifying plaintiff, otherwise, she will toss the suit out.

      Apple, on the other hand, requested that the trial proceed even if plaintiff can’t be found, because they want to win on merit.

      Clearly, this judge wants to trow this case out, and Apple is the one arguing in favour of a trial.

      1. And if they do find a plaintiff, that order would be grounds for dismisal right there becuase it is tantamount to a fishing expedition in search of a basis, whoch is tantamount to no grounds for the lawsuit.

        1. So, we are reading different articles. In the article quoted above by MDN (see last paragraph), Apple lawyer stated he would rather win in trial than win on technicality. The one you link to, on CNBC, doesn’t mention what statement.

            1. All lawyers would rather win on the merits than on a technicality, because a technicality typically means the case can be filed again once the technicality has been cured (assuming it is not time barred or otherwise barred). Winning on the merits is also a big PR bonus for Apple.

  4. This presents a real problem for the plaintiffs law firm. Typically the law firm collects the bulk of any settlement and the class gets a pat on the popo. The lawyers are looking for a big payday. The named plaintiff, who didn’t actually own an iPod that qualified, is the wife of one of the lawyers.

    To locate a plaintiff that actually owned a qualifying, the lawyers would actually have to know the names of the individuals in the class. And for a member of the class to agree to be the lead plaintiff, they could extract a real paycheck from the law firm. Once the law firm agrees to that, the other members of the class could come after them for similar reimbursement.

    Ambulance chasers, of which this is a form, are bad enough. To find their is no patient in the ambulance is pretty silly. That the judge is giving them overs is even more silly. She should throw the case out, with prejudice, and slap that law firm with a fine for wasting the courts time.

    1. Well, it was REALLY convenient when the plaintiffs were married to the attorneys. They could discuss the strategies of the case in after sex gab sessions in bed. Now that is not an option since the judge has tossed the last conjugal plaintiff in the case.

      It does make one wonder if these law firm attended that well received weekend cruise seminar “Class Action Law, For Fun and Profit—Keep it in the Family!”

  5. 8 million iPod owners included in the class yet the two persons selected as plaintiffs were ineligible as they bought their iPod after iTunes went DRM free.
    Some in the know please clarify.
    how does someone join a class action?
    Is it just a matter of writing your name and signing without any verification by the law firm that is supposed to represent them?

    1. You are automatically part of the class if you bought an iPod with in the time frame listed in the case. When the case settles or a judgment is entered, you would be entitled to collect your portion of whatever the settlement is. Typically these cases settle, so the companies offer coupons, iTunes cards, etc. and the lawyers get several million dollars.

      Apple has a list of everyone who purchased an iPod during the class time frame, and you should have been notified. If not, you can search for the class website and sign up, but you would likely need your receipt to prove you are a class member.

      1. Thanks for your answer.
        Is the 8 million they are talking about is the number of IPods sold in the US by apple?
        I bought an iPod in 2007, am I part of the class even if all the music that I stored in it was ripped from CD that I own and I didn’t purchase any digital distributed music (iTunes, realNetworks,etc), which means I was not affected by apple’s “monopolic” practices.

  6. I would be interested to know…if the lawyers win the suit…would the $350M be split between the law firm and the lawyer’s wife?

    Or would they go search for the 8 million devastated iPod owners who suffered irreparable harm?

    Maybe do like the mesothelioma commercials. “Hi! My name’s Doug and I was unable to load my friend’s copy of the tune…”I fought the law, and the law won” onto my iPad.

    I should be compensated.

    1. The named plaintiffs typically get compensated significantly more than the class participants (which often is very little), so the lawyer’s wife would be compensated (except that she was kicked out). In this case, Apple would have a very legitimate claim against paying her anything, or possibly for collusion, because the receipt shows that it was the law firm that purchased the iPod, but that is another issue that is irrelevant at this point because she was kicked out.

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