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Judge voices concern over Apple's $450M e-book settlement, says may hurt consumers

post #1 of 57
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U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote on Thursday said she is concerned about the terms of Apple's settlement with a class of consumers due hundreds of millions of dollars over e-book price fixing, claiming certain provisions could greatly reduce the damages payout.

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According to in-court reports from Reuters, Judge Cote takes issue with a particular settlement clause that would require Apple to only pay $70 million if her earlier decision is overturned by an appeals court and sent back down for reevaluation. Alternatively, if the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ultimately exonerates Apple, the company pays nothing.

The jurist went on to question the fairness of such a decrease in monetary damages, noting an appellate court could feasibly send the case back on a minor issue. That Apple would not be forced to pay interest on said damages during appeals proceedings was also a bone of contention.

"We thought given that unlikely scenario and the legal risk we would face it would be a good outcome for consumers," said Steve Berman, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. After the session, Berman told the publication that his team would now reconsider the settlement after hearing Judge Cote's concerns.

In a July 2013 ruling, Judge Cote found Apple guilty of colluding with five major book publishers to inflate the prices of e-books sold through the iBookstore. The U.S. Department of Justice presented the antitrust case against Apple that ultimately brought an injunction barring the company from entering any similar arrangement with other parties.

Apple settled the case with 33 U.S. states and territories last week for a maximum of $450 million, with $400 million going directly to consumers affected by the iBookstore's e-book pricing. Plaintiffs were expected to seek up to $840 million if the case went to trial.

The settlement has not yet been ratified by Judge Cote, meaning its terms can be modified before being accepted by the court.
post #2 of 57
Oh please, the amount that each consumer would miss out on is minuscule compared to the amount the lawyers would miss out on. And why would a judge care about lawyers--it's almost as if she was one . . . Oh wait . . .
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post #3 of 57
Cote's courtroom has turned into a circus. You can't make this stuff up for a television series.
post #4 of 57

So according to the proposed settlement - Apple would only have to settle if they were ultimately found guilty of price fixing; that seems fair. The Judge wants them to pay even if a later court finds them not guilty of price-fixing???

 

I don't understand how they were found guilty in the first place - can someone enlighten me without jokes, puns, etc...

post #5 of 57

The insanity of that headline immediately told me it was Judge Cote. LOL!

 

She should be bounced from the bench like a Superball.

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post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote on Thursday said she is concerned about the terms of Apple's settlement with a class of consumers due hundreds of millions of dollars over e-book price fixing, claiming certain provisions could greatly reduce the damages payout.

According to in-court reports from Reuters, Judge Cote takes issue with a particular settlement clause that would require Apple to only pay $70 million if her earlier decision is overturned by an appeals court and sent back down for reevaluation. Alternatively, if the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ultimately exonerates Apple, the company pays nothing.

So she's complaining that if her decision is appealed and Apple wins, Apple won't have to pay as much or pay at all?

So if they get found not guilty or guilty to a lesser degree, they should still have to pay the full amount they agreed to (which they only agreed to because they were found guilty)?

post #7 of 57
This judge is a joke. She doesn't stand for justice not the consumer, only for protecting the Amazon monopoly, the interests of lawyers and lining government pockets. Get this corrupt judge off the bench! What a farce.
post #8 of 57
All the more reason to overturn the whole decision on appeal.

This is the judge who said there were unusual mitigating circumstances but would not let those moderate her verdict because, well, (and I paraphrase) not willing to suggest existing law needs to be further qualified.

She is certainly turning the screws here.
post #9 of 57
Apple has so much money, this judge thinks Apple should pay a fine even if Apple is proven not guilty! Is this what the USA has been reduced to? You are guilty even if you are proven not guilty. And, paying interest on money you do not have to pay? Really???

Earlier tonight I decided unsubscribe from all Democratic emails due to all the political games beng played in Washington, DC. Now reading yet another asinine game continuing to be played has me feeling even more disgusted about the USA legal system. And, to think THE Obama ADMINISTRATION is writing guidelines for drone surveillance in the USA.

Okay, I moved off topic, but it all is crashing in on the same day.
post #10 of 57
I wonder how much Cote's legislation, titled "The Amazon Relief Act" will cost consumers, both in terms of killing publishers and ultimately raising prices through monopolist advantage. Perhaps Hachette could comment...
post #11 of 57

Think of the lawyers, people. For God's sake. Think of the lawyers! They have to eat too. On Gulfstream jets...

post #12 of 57
Dude, holy crow this is going to get so reversed!! Even f it was a slam dunk Apple loss to begin with, it is gong to turn around the other way!
post #13 of 57
F-k you judge Cote!
post #14 of 57
Anyone who thinks courtroom corruption ends here needs a reality slap in the face.

Innocent people in prison, background deals between judges and lawyers, guilty without evidence etc. it's time WE STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE... US!!!
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by cali View Post

Anyone who thinks courtroom corruption ends here needs a reality slap in the face.

Innocent people in prison, background deals between judges and lawyers, guilty without evidence etc. it's time WE STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE... US!!!

I hope the whole thing gets reversed. I think there should be a law that states publicly where every single dollar of the settlement ends up. Public disclosure.
post #16 of 57
Quote:
The jurist went on to question the fairness of such a decrease in monetary damages, noting an appellate court could feasibly send the case back on a minor issue. That Apple would not be forced to pay interest on said damages during appeals proceedings was also a bone of contention.

 

You mean like deciding Apple was guilty before the trial even started?

post #17 of 57
Sitting on the other side of the world, and seeing what is going on in the Ukraine, ISIS, Gaza, Iran's weapons program, China and Japan's tiffs, and how impotent the USA has become, this sort of bullshit in what was once the land of the free is why the US, and thus the whole world, is going down the toilet.
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post #18 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropys View Post

Sitting on the other side of the world, and seeing what is going on in the Ukraine, ISIS, Gaza, Iran's weapons program, China and Japan's tiffs, and how impotent the USA has become, this sort of bullshit in what was once the land of the free is why the US, and thus the whole world, is going down the toilet.

You would be remiss if you think what you're "seeing" was not intentionally put there for you to see. In this day and age.
post #19 of 57

The world doesn't want us to police the world. That was made abundantly clear when George W. Bush invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.  I didn't think it was where we should have deployed our military, but that's another story. The world thought that we should have gone in with the U.N. instead.

 

I think you need to point the finger at the U.N. at this point who don't seem to concerned with the matters you bring up, no matter how much the U.S. could do.  I should also point out that applying military force in situations that are not so clearly defined, rarely solves the issue.

post #20 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

The world doesn't want us to police the world. That was made abundantly clear when George W. Bush invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.  I didn't think it was where we should have deployed our military, but that's another story. The world thought that we should have gone in with the U.N. instead.

I think you need to point the finger at the U.N. at this point who don't seem to concerned with the matters you bring up, no matter how much the U.S. could do.  I should also point out that applying military force in situations that are not so clearly defined, rarely solves the issue.

I'm very grateful that the world does not control the U.S. Military. That would be odd to say the least. However I do wish that the U.S. Government actually controlled the U.S. military. That would make me quite a bit happier.
post #21 of 57

Is Judge Cote for real?  @conternotions on Twitter periodically posts sarcastic Tweets about Cote fining Apple for everything under the sun, but no parody of her can touch the real thing.  Apple should fight this thing tooth and nail all the way to the Supreme Court.  

 

Especially with the Amazon - Hachette thing happening you have to live in a particularly deep cave not to realize that Amazon is the predatory monopolist in the book business

post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmz101 View Post
 

So according to the proposed settlement - Apple would only have to settle if they were ultimately found guilty of price fixing; that seems fair. The Judge wants them to pay even if a later court finds them not guilty of price-fixing???

 

I don't understand how they were found guilty in the first place - can someone enlighten me without jokes, puns, etc...

As I understand it the appeal could have 3 results: Cote was right, Cote was wrong, or the trial was botched and we need a new one.

In that last case Apple settles for just 70m, which Cote thinks is not enough. 

 

Another nice touch is wanting Apple to pay interest while she stalls the appeal.

 

How they were found guilty is a bit of a mystery for me too. It seems to me that any similarity in the publishers actions is adequately explained by the shared experience of Amazon having them by the balls, and squeezing. No collusion required.

 

It has been mentioned that Apple is being punished for not playing along in the political circus, spending too little on lobbyists and such.

post #23 of 57

This is ridiculous! The underdog in eBook world which is monopolized by Amazon is being punished for price-fixing. Give me a break! Secondly, as a consumer I never see the money. This continue to happens, I have gotten notices from lawyers about class action suits, which some I was part of it and it tells me to spend hours to note things down to get $1.49 coupon I can use somewhere - WTF? So I rarely bother go through the motions. I have hand full of those sitting in my drawers. 

 

So the bottom line - It is the lawyers who are basically making out in all of this. Now, if I remember, judges were lawyers too before than before judges - So  at the  end of the day...isn't think like "back scratching". The whole system is an hoax.

post #24 of 57
As an e-book consumer I've always felt that Judge Cote's myopic perspective and kowtowing to the money grabbing whims of the DOJ and monopolistic ambitions of Amazon is incredibly damaging to consumers and publishers. She has emboldened Amazon with a near monopolistic powers to direct publisher's and content owners to do whatever Amazon directs them to do, even if it destroys their businesses. This includes forcing e-books publishers to accept that their wares must be wholesale priced to support Amazon's use of them as loss leaders to buy market share and destroy competition in the ebook market. Ultimately, the DOJ's mission appears to be aimed at giving Amazon total exclusivity in the ebook marketplace. I think it's high time that the DOJ and the Judge explain to consumers how a government sanctioned monopoly in the ebook marketplace is in the best interests of consumers.
post #25 of 57
What is the process for removing an out of control federal judge? Impeachment?
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post #26 of 57

This judge is prejudiced and simply evil wrong.  She needs to be tried and convicted - preferably with U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski's favorite outcomes.

post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted13 View Post
 

Especially with the Amazon - Hachette thing happening you have to live in a particularly deep cave not to realize that Amazon is the predatory monopolist in the book business

+1

 

I thought the Amazon Hachette bullying made this statement by the judge particularly tin eared. I don't think the judge is in the back pocket of Amazon or anything (that's pretty paranoid) but she definitely is not seeing the big picture.

post #28 of 57
I am so happy Judge Cote & her bitch Jeff Bezos missed their quarterly earnings yesterday...
post #29 of 57
I don't understand, Judge Cote; why can't you just let the FREE MARKET decide if they want to buy "overpriced" e-books?
post #30 of 57
Quote:

Especially with the Amazon - Hachette thing happening you have to live in a particularly deep cave not to realize that Amazon is the predatory monopolist in the book business

 

She thinks the publishers should have filed a complaint about Amazon. Nobody did, so everything is fine. She said as much once.

Of course the publishers have zero confidence that the judicial system can solve their Amazon problem in a way they can afford.

Or at all.

 

post #31 of 57

This type of thing seems to be her behavior. Have a look:

 

http://fortune.com/2013/08/14/the-curious-case-of-apple-ebook-judge-denise-cote/

 

"Here’s a sample of what lawyers who have appeared before her — writing anonymously for obvious reasons — have posted:

Judge Cote has a bubbly style but it masks an inclination toward pre judging issues, including deciding early on who the good guy is and who the bad guy is and ruling accordingly.

  • Judge Cote predetermines outcome of the case and consistently rules accordingly even in contradiction to her own orders.
  • Her rulings are generally “sly” and calculated to ignore the pertinent issues raised, which is always allows the prosecution team to prevail.
  • Judge Cote’s pre-disposition and bias are evident from the first moments she is encountered in the Courtroom.
  • It seemed clear that she had pre-judged the case and the parties before hearing the merits, and proceeded to rule accordingly without regard for the facts and law.
  • As several commenters have noted, this judge pre-determines which parties should win at the outset, and is blatantly enamored of big-name firms and gov’t entities. Engages in legal contortions to reach outcomes on behalf of her pet party, even to the extent of ignoring applicable black-letter law… God help us all if she is elevated to the Second Circuit."
post #32 of 57
How about $3.50 per gallon gas prices! What an idiot this judge is.
Talk about missing the pertinent issues. More $ has been spent on this nonsense; than
on providing luches for under priveleged kids.
post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadMonk View Post

I am so happy Judge Cote & her bitch Jeff Bezos missed their quarterly earnings yesterday...

Yeah, Amazon really ate the bar on that one.

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post #34 of 57
She's wondering where hers and Amazon's cuts are.
post #35 of 57

gee, there was no damages since the lawsuit was fill immediate about apples announce plans. It was not like Apple and publisher was doing this for years before someone called foul. No consumer was damage since consumers could still buy cheap books at Amazon like they always have been.

 

The courts and local AG's act like consumers have been over paying for years.

post #36 of 57
This should be made into a TV show. It would make a great comedy. I've NEVER laughed so hard!!!

I've heard of eccentric judges, but this one takes the prize.
post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmz101 View Post

So according to the proposed settlement - Apple would only have to settle if they were ultimately found guilty of price fixing; that seems fair. The Judge wants them to pay even if a later court finds them not guilty of price-fixing???

I don't understand how they were found guilty in the first place - can someone enlighten me without jokes, puns, etc...

Finding Apple guilty makes as much sense as wanting Apple to pay even if they are innocent.

The only way to understand it is to realize that the judge is on a power trip and probably doing her best to line the pockets of her friends.
post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

This should be made into a TV show. It would make a great comedy. I've NEVER laughed so hard!!!

I've heard of eccentric judges, but this one takes the prize.

I think judges should have term limits, no matter who they are.

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post #39 of 57

i thought only surgeons got "god complexes" - i guess judges do too.

post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Oh please, the amount that each consumer would miss out on is minuscule compared to the amount the lawyers would miss out on. And why would a judge care about lawyers--it's almost as if she was one . . . Oh wait . . .

Actually, it's the states' Attorneys General who are suing, so the states get the legal fees, not individual lawyers. That's why the proposed settlement gives a much higher percentage to consumers than most settlements (89% to consumers). Still, the amount to each consumer won't be very much.


Edited by elroth - 7/25/14 at 8:26am
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