Back in 2013, a former Justice Department inspector general, Michael Bromwich, was appointed by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to monitor Apple’s e-book pricing reform. However, Apple has been consistently appealing against the corporate monitor ever since. Today, The Wall Street Journal has reported that a federal appeals court has rejected the Cupertino giant’s request to rid itself of Mr. Bromwich for the third time, saying that his role as Apple monitor is ‘appropriately constrained’.
On Thursday, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that Mr. Bromwich’s role was “appropriately constrained” and said Apple could continue to raise objections in the lower court, if it believes he overstepped his bounds.
Mr. Bromwich kept his job but received some criticism in Thursday’s ruling. The Second Circuit panel said submitting the 2013 declaration as part of the government’s brief was “the opposite of best practice for a court-appointed monitor.” But it wasn’t so serious as to warrant his disqualification, the panel said.
According to Judge Jesse M. Furman, a member of the Second Circuit panel, Apple has failed to follow a process established by Judge Cote to mediate disputes between the company and the monitor. “Instead, the company largely sat on its hands, allowing issues with the monitor to fester and the relationship to deteriorate, mostly without the district court’s knowledge,” Judge Furman said.
Meanwhile, Apple continues to complain that Mr. Bromwich has been writing to the company’s officers rather than through their lawyers, and proposing they communicate with him directly.