Apple v. Epic court battle to be decided by court, not jury

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
Apple and Epic have agreed that the coming court battle should be decided in a bench trial by a judge, not a jury.




In a court filing on Tuesday, the companies stated that, after conferring, both agree Epic's claims and Apple's counterclaims should be decided by the court. Apple previously pushed for a jury trial, but has withdrawn the request to streamline proceedings.

As stated in today's filing, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in a preliminary hearing on Monday said she "[did not] want to try two cases" and was "inclined to try both cases at once." Under such circumstances, Apple would likely have to forego a jury trial, which the company is apparently willing to do to get the ball rolling.

Rogers implied a jury trial would be favorable as the public's voice is important.

"They are important cases on the frontier of anti-trust law," Rogers said, adding, "It is important enough to understand what real people think."

Apple's decision arrives a day after an initial case hearing set the stage for what appears to be a tough road ahead for Epic.

On multiple occasions during Monday's hearing, the jurist took Epic to task for its wanton disregard of Apple's policies. Rogers reminded Epic that it initiated the conflict by pushing out an update to Fortnite that purposely broke App Store rules by implementing a direct in-app payment system.

Following the launch of a slick PR campaign that paints Apple as a traditional monopolist, the iPhone maker removed Fortnite from the App Store and later deactivated Epic's account. A court decision in August barred Apple from taking similar action against the Epic Games International developer account that is used to maintain Epic's Unreal Engine.

Epic made a second attempt to get Fortnite back on the App Store in early September, to which Apple countered with a breach of contract claim.

The ongoing legal drama is tentatively set for July 2021, though that date could change in the coming months.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,086member
    What real people think? When has any court case cared about what people think. 
    uraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    rob53 said:
    What real people think? When has any court case cared about what people think. 
    Every trial by jury cares about what the 12 jurists think.
    uraharaelijahgjdb8167jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    This...

    During Monday's hearing, the judge said that Epic was "not forthright" and had made a "calculated decision" to defy Apple's App Store rules. "There are people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you did, but it's not honest," she said.
    chasmmuthuk_vanalingamurahararonnArloTimetravelerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Kinda sad that judge Gonzalez Rogers doesn't consider herself a "real person."  Where's Geppetto when we need him?

    At least this trial won't be settled by 12 morons in East Texas.
    EsquireCatsuraharafotoformatronnmwhiteMplsPcornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,605member
    Epic just lost the case by not demanding a jury trial, and Apple knows this.

    The judge has already told Epic — repeatedly — that they broke the contract as a stunt and brought these problems on themselves.

    she is not going to change that view in July.
    randominternetpersonaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    chasm said:
    Epic just lost the case by not demanding a jury trial, and Apple knows this.

    The judge has already told Epic — repeatedly — that they broke the contract as a stunt and brought these problems on themselves.

    she is not going to change that view in July.
    Yeah, it does seem like Apple conceding its initial request for a jury trial like Brer Rabbit and the briar patch.  
    bageljoeywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,097member
    chasm said:
    Epic just lost the case by not demanding a jury trial, and Apple knows this.

    The judge has already told Epic — repeatedly — that they broke the contract as a stunt and brought these problems on themselves.

    she is not going to change that view in July.
    Juries are triers of fact, not law, and the facts are largely undisputed here. A jury trial would add nothing for either side, and even if they agree to one, this case will likely be disposed well before it would start. 
    williamlondonjahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,124member
    rob53 said:
    What real people think? When has any court case cared about what people think. 
    Every trial by jury cares about what the 12 jurists think.

    This is a matter of law. 12 "real people" will never understand the complexities of the law in a short period of time, so the judge will waste more time explaining the law.
    cornchipbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 1,014member
    flydog said:
    chasm said:
    Epic just lost the case by not demanding a jury trial, and Apple knows this.

    The judge has already told Epic — repeatedly — that they broke the contract as a stunt and brought these problems on themselves.

    she is not going to change that view in July.
    Juries are triers of fact, not law, and the facts are largely undisputed here. A jury trial would add nothing for either side, and even if they agree to one, this case will likely be disposed well before it would start. 
    There are plenty of questions of fact in this case such as, e.g., how should the relevant markets be defined. There are questions of law which can affect that consideration, but it's ultimately a question of fact. If a jury was involved, the judge would answer the questions of law and provide the jury with guidance on how to consider the questions of fact. This is a case which a jury could be asked to hear, and the judge indicated that was her preferred course.

    The issue here is that Epic is only making equitable claims, it isn't making legal claims. In other words, it's asking for injunctions to stop Apple from doing certain things. It isn't asking for damages. Generally speaking parties have a right to trial by jury in federal civil cases. But they don't necessarily have such a right when it comes to equitable rather than legal claims.

    Apple made counterclaims in this case, and when it filed those counterclaims (along with an answer to Epic's claims) it demanded a jury trial. It has a right to have a jury trial on its claims (which include legal claims). But it doesn't necessarily have a right to have a jury trial on Epic's equitable claims. So, if Epic insists on not having a jury trial on its equitable claims, there either has to be separate trials - one with a jury on Apple's claims (to include legal claims) and one without a jury on Epic's equitable claims  - or Apple has to agree not to have a jury. (Or, I suppose, the judge could make a determination that under the circumstances Apple has a right to have a trial by jury on Epic's claims.)

    There would be reasons to have a trial by jury in this case, even on Epic's claims. But Apple has agreed to have a bench trial. I suspect Apple feels pretty good about its chances with this judge after having heard what she's said so far.
    randominternetpersonjahblademuthuk_vanalingamGG1watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,714member
    flydog said:
    chasm said:
    Epic just lost the case by not demanding a jury trial, and Apple knows this.

    The judge has already told Epic — repeatedly — that they broke the contract as a stunt and brought these problems on themselves.

    she is not going to change that view in July.
    Juries are triers of fact, not law, and the facts are largely undisputed here. A jury trial would add nothing for either side, and even if they agree to one, this case will likely be disposed well before it would start. 
    no- juries are triers of opinion, hopefully but not always influenced by facts.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    rob53 said:
    What real people think? When has any court case cared about what people think. 
    Every trial by jury cares about what the 12 jurists think.

    And that's a problem when racists/sexists etc sit on the jury. They judge with emotion. All Epic needs to say is "Trillion dollar corporation", "small developers", "for the people" etc and win.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,521member
    rob53 said:
    What real people think? When has any court case cared about what people think. 
    Every trial by jury cares about what the 12 jurists think.
    Just as long as your side had the most effective Voir Dire.
    watto_cobra
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