A US appeals court recently heard initial arguments from Apple regarding the stoppage of antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich’s duties while the court decides whether he should be removed altogether. As part of its ongoing battle to have Bromwich removed or at least restrained from his monitorship. Apple stated its case to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Apple argues that the external compliance monitor’s work should be halted until the court hands down a ruling on a requested removal according to a report from Reuters.

According to Apple, Bromwich is disrupting business operations and harming the company with his questionable monitoring methods. If the ECM were allowed to continue work, only to be removed when the court later finds his actions improper, Apple would have spent time and money it can’t get back. Apple counsel Theodore Boutrous, Jr. said the following regarding the matter:

The court can't give us relief. We can't turn back the clock.
So far, however, the appellate court's three-judge panel seems unmoved by Apple advances.

Maybe if they had spent some of their very valuable time keeping the company from violating antitrust laws, perhaps they wouldn't be in this position.
The jurist suggested that the court draw up an order that specifies the limits of Bromwich’s role but Boutrous said Apple would still oppose such measures. Counsel noted that the Department of Justice is capable of monitoring Apple on its own without the aid of a private party with incentive to grow income based on the scope of his tenure according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Judge Guido Calabresi said the following regarding the matter:

The government has other things to do.
As for the DoJ, lawyer Finnuala K. Tessier argued Bromwich had to get back to work immediately to ensure Apple doesn’t’ again engage in illicit activities. Tessier said the following regarding the matter:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The Cupertino California company has complained and accused the ECM of conducting a wide-roving and unconstitutional investigation of the company, making requests that go beyond the scope of his duties. For example, Bromwich wanted to meet with Apple executives and board members such as Jony Ive, many of whom don’t’ have insight into the company’s daily business operations. In addition, the ECM’s pay structure of over $1,000 per hour was called excessive.

The whole issue stems from the DoJ’s successful e-books case against Apple. In September, Judge Denise Cote handed down an injunction against Apple after finding the tech giant guilty of colluding with book publishers to falsely inflate the price of e-books sold through the iBookstore.

While the appeals court debates the issue, Bromwich’s work is being put on hold until a determination is made on Apple’s request for an even longer suspension of duties. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Source: Reuters, The Wall Street Journal