In an objection filed last week, attorneys for Apple complained that Michael Bromwich, the external monitor appointed by the court to oversee Apple’s antitrust training, is already overstepping his bounds—and, overcharging for his services.
In filings, Apple noted that Bromwich is charging Apple a $1,100 hourly rate, plus a 15% administrative fee, which the company complained is “higher than Apple has ever encountered for any task.” Bromwich’s first invoice, Apple attorneys state, was for more than $138,000, for just a two-week period.
Money, however, appears to be the least of Apple’s concerns. Rather, attorneys say Bromwich is exceeding the narrow final order signed by Judge Denise Cote in September. In a filing, Apple attorneys complain that Bromwich views himself “as an independent investigator whose role is to interrogate Apple personnel about matters unrelated to the injunction in an effort to ferret out any wrongdoing, all at Apple’s expense.”
In her September order, Judge Cote stressed that the monitor would focus solely on overseeing Apple’s internal antitrust policy and training, for a two-year period. But in an order signed on November 21, Cote appeared to expand the provisions of the final injunction, ordering that the monitor should proceed “with diligence,” and could access Apple executives “ex parte,” that is, without corporate counsel present.
In its objection, Apple complained that the November 21 order illegally amends their final injunction, and has effectively set Bromwich off on a fishing expedition.
“Mr. Bromwich has already shown a proclivity to leap far beyond his mandate, and now this Court proposes amendments that would give him power to interview Apple personnel ex parte, something he will no doubt be quick to exploit,” the Apple filing states. “Indeed, the day after the Court filed its proposed amendments, Mr. Bromwich directly contacted Apple’s entire Board of Directors, citing the Court’s order and encouraging them to promote a ‘direct relationship’ between the company liaisons and the monitoring team that is unfiltered through outside counsel.”
Apple attorneys add that Bromwich, based on his exclusive conversations with the court, believes he is “authorized to immediately interview top officials and the board before Apple even has a chance to revise its compliance and training programs as envisioned by the Court.” Such assertions call into question the objectivity of the court, Apple asserts.
“To the extent the Court actually intended to unleash Mr. Bromwich as its agent in this manner, such order transforms the Court from an impartial arbiter of ‘Cases’ and ‘Controversies’ into Apple’s litigation adversary,” the Apple filing states.