Appeals court rejects Apple request for stay of damages trial
June 2, 2014 | 4:11 am
Apple’s collected another appeal rejection the way some writers used to collect publisher rejection slips. The appeals court issued a terse decision saying that Apple hadn’t met the legal standard required for a stay, so it would not stay the damages phase of the trial while Apple appeals the guilty verdict. Appeals courts rarely ever explain their reasoning for these matters in detail, so all we can really say is that they didn’t find Apple’s argument convincing. The rejection paves the way for the trial to begin July 14, unless there are further administrative delays.
The closest thing to an explanation is a footnote referring to a World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation case, which a quick Google turns up seems to be oft quoted in regard to the criteria on which such a stay is to be issued. From another court decision involving it:
The four factors to be considered in issuing a stay pending appeal are well known: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.
So, in other words, Apple failed to meet enough of those tests for the appeals court to see fit to intervene. Too bad we don’t know which ones, though my money’s on all of them more or less.
In its appeals, Apple only seems able to parrot the same arguments that lost it the trial in the district court and say Judge Cote didn’t decide it right, which I don’t think would necessarily convince the appeals court Apple is going to prevail. As Nate points out on The Digital Reader, it’s ridiculous to think Apple could be “irreparably harmed” by having to fork over less than half a percent of its cash reserves. Issuing the stay would slow down the process of settlement money getting to consumers, and it’s in the public interest that consumers’ damage from the price-fixing be made good as soon as possible.
If we choose to read this as yet another tea leaf (in addition to its first denial of a stay, for the imposition of the anti-trust monitor) pointing to the eventual outcome of the verdict appeal, things are starting to look less and less good for Apple. Maybe they should settle while the settling is good.