You can add another line to Apple’s list of issues for appeal in its e-book price-fixing case. Tuesday, Judge Denise Cote rejected Apple’s November 2013 motion to dismiss the states’ class action claims, which argued that the states collectively lacked standing to sue for money damages.
"Apple appears on the one hand to concede that the States have standing to seek injunctive relief against Apple, but to contest that they have standing to seek damages arising from the same conduct," Cote wrote in her decision, calling those two arguments "incompatible" while also holding that the States "have clearly demonstrated that they have standing to bring a damages action."
As PW reported, a damages trial is now set for July 14 involving the states as well as a consumer class. According to plaintiff filings, damages could run as high as $840 million.
In her decision, Cote once again sent a clear message that she intends to see Apple pay damages, writing that the States “have identified their own and their citizens’ concrete injury from Apple’s conspiracy with the publishers to raise e-book prices,” and stressing that, counter to Apple’s defenses in the damages action, the injury here is “actual,” based "in fact," and not conjectural.
“The plaintiffs demonstrated that e-book prices rose precipitously as the result of the price fixing conspiracy of which Apple was a part,” Cote opined, observing that the actions by Apple and five major publishers led to an e-book market “devoid of price competition.”
The latest ruling is also another indication that the damages phase of the case is heating up, with a slew of pending motions being decided—all of them thus far against Apple.
Late last month, Cote granted certification to the classes, and disqualified Apple’s two key expert witnesses. Apple has also asked for a stay of all proceedings while its appeals are pending, which is still to be decided. The plaintiffs have opposed any potential stay. Apple has also asked the court to remand the damages trial to their original jurisdictions, which the plaintiffs also opposed.