NEW YORK, April 23 A U.S. federal judge denied a
bid by Apple Inc on Wednesday to hold off a trial in a
case brought by state attorneys general accusing the company of
conspiring with five major publishers to fix e-book prices.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in a brief order said the
July 14 trial had already been postponed once and should go
forward, paving the way for more than two dozen states to pursue
hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Following a non-jury trial last year, Cote found that Apple
from 2009 to 2010 conspired with the publishers to raise e-book
prices and impede competitors such as Amazon.com Inc.
The trial to assign damages was supposed to be held in May
but it was pushed back two months to allow adequate time for
class notification, Cote's order said.
Apple later on Wednesday asked a federal appeal's court to
intervene and halt the trial.
"The district court is ... pressing forward with class
notice and a trial in both cases in July, despite the
irreparable harm to Apple's reputation among its consumers if
class notice is disseminated," the company said in its filing at
the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Eric Lipman, an assistant attorney general in Texas wrote
a letter to Cote on Wednesday opposing Apple's motion to
postpone the trial.
"If any stay is issued, the feasibility of a July 14 trial
is significantly decreases. The Court should not countenance
Apple's latest effort to further delay a jury's determination,"
the letter said.
After Cote's ruling last year, the states had pursued the
liability finding alongside the U.S. Justice Department and
obtained an injunction against the iPad maker in September that
called for the appointment of a compliance
Attorneys for the plaintiffs are seeking $840 million in
The publishers previously agreed to pay more than $166
million to settle related antitrust charges.
They included Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group
Inc, News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin
Group (USA) Inc, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc and
Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan.
Apple's attorneys from the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher did
not immediately return a request for comment.
The states' case is being led by attorneys general in Texas
and Connecticut. Jaclyn Falkowski, a spokeswoman for Connecticut
Attorney General George Jepsen, did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
The case is In Re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation,
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No.
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Nate Raymond; Editing by