In a final bit of housekeeping before the Supreme Court decides whether to hear Apple’s appeal in its e-book price-fixing case, an appeals court this week has affirmed the company’s 2014 settlement with the 33 states and a consumer class.
In a brisk, eight page ruling, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals dispatched with a single objector’s attempt to overturn the settlement, saying the challenge was “devoid of merit,” and “has done nothing to cast any doubt” on the settlement agreement, which was approved by Judge Denise Cote in 2014. In court papers, the objector, John Bradley, was described as a “serial objector” with no real stake in the settlement.
The decision comes as the Supreme Court is slated to decide tomorrow whether to take up Apple’s appeal in its e-book price-fixing case.
If the high court declines to hear Apple’s appeal, Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 liability finding against Apple will be considered final, triggering $400 million in consumer rebates. If the case is remanded for further proceedings, Apple will pay $50 million to consumers. If reversed, Apple will pay nothing.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday will cap an eventful week, with Apple in the news for resisting a court order to hack the phones of the San Bernadino terrorists. In addition, the sudden passing of Judge Antonin Scalia has added another wrinkle—Friday’s conference will be the court’s first since the conservative judge’s death last weekend.
There has been much speculation about whether or not the court will or should take the case, including an in-depth symposium at the Truth on the Market blog, as well as speculation about what Scalia’s absence might mean for Apple’s chances.
Update: Supreme Court spokesperson has confirmed that the conference scheduled for tomorrow to consider Apple's appeal has been postponed.