Apple’s losing streak in Judge Denise Cote’s courtroom continues. This week the court denied Apple’s request for a stay of all proceedings pending various appeals in its e-book price fixing case. And in a separate opinion and order, the court also denied Apple’s bid to have the damages trial moved from Judge Cote’s New York courtroom.
In denying Apple’s bid for a stay, Cote held that the matter had already been delayed long enough, noting that the court granted Apple’s request in 2012 to delay the class certification process in the state and consumer cases until after its liability trial, held in June, 2013. The damages trial was recently delayed again, pushed back from its May, 2014 date on the trial calendar to July 14.
In a lengthier opinion, Judge Cote also dispatched with Apple’s motion to have any damages trial moved from New York. Apple attorneys had argued that the case management order that brought the federal, state, and class action cases together in New York applied to pretrial activity only. Thus, any upcoming damages trials in the consumer and state actions should be moved from the Southern District of New York (where Apple has not fared well so far) to Northern California, where the first class action suit from Hagens Berman was filed in 2011, and to the Western District of Texas, where the states' action is based.
Cote, however, held that Apple attorneys overlook a key point: that the current cases also reside in New York.
“Apple seems to assume that the remand of the class actions originally filed in California would end class action litigation in the Southern District of New York, but does not explain why that should be so,” Cote held. “There were class actions filed originally in this district and they have as much (or as little) right to proceed as those first filed in California. Moreover, the consolidated class action complaint is governed by a separate complaint and it is that pleading’s class that has been certified, and that pleading’s request for damages that will be resolved at the July trial. To the extent that the consolidated complaint represents the originally filed actions, it must represent all of them, including those filed in New York, which of course cannot be transferred to California without the consent of the plaintiffs.” The plaintiffs oppose moving the action.
For good measure, Cote also held that Apple did in fact waive its right to have the consumer class action trials moved.
“By its statements and conduct throughout this litigation, Apple has repeatedly manifested its consent to a single trial on damages and to that trial occurring in this venue,” she ruled. “Therefore, even if it had the right before the July 14 damages trial to request a remand of either the class actions originally filed in California, or the claims originally filed by sixteen States in Texas, Apple waived that right.”
The rulings pave the way for the July 14 damages trial to go on as planned. However, the Second Circuit could still intervene with a stay order. In addition, there is still a Summary Judgment motion by the plaintiffs to be decided.