Apple has issued a formal objection to the court-appointed lawyer assigned to monitor its compliance with the decision handed down in its e-book pricing fixing case back in July. The monitor was assigned by the DOJ back in October, and has apparently been charging Apple a very high price for his services – he made $138,432 in his first two weeks on the job, according to Apple’s official filing on the matter.
Apple says that’s the highest rate it’s paid a lawyer in its history, which is saying a lot given the company’s decidedly litigious streak. Apple’s lawyers explained in the filing that they believe Bromwich is charging so much simply because he can, as Apple has no say in who is chosen for the position, and must pay for the court-appointed monitor as per the decision handed down by the DOJ in the antitrust price-fixing case. Apple also objected to a provision in the DOJ’s ruling that would allow Bromwich to interview company personnel and report back to the court without Apple’s own lawyers around to represent the company’s interests.
The anti-trust case saw Apple charged with colluding with ebook publishers to artificially raise prices, and the DOJ handed down a decision that means Apple must have the court-appointed monitor, and is forbidden from having special arrangement with publishers around price restrictions, as well as so-called “favored nation” clauses (which essentially ties the pricing deals it works out with one publisher to the arrangements it holds with others) for four years.
Bromwich has served as an independent monitor before, in the oil and gas industry and with the Metropolitan Police Department for the District of Columbia, but if lawyer loving Apple is taking exception, there might be something to the claim that this rate is excessive by any standards.