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Apple And AT&T Lose Bid To Dismiss Class In Ninth Circuit

Posted  October 26, 2010

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed class certification for an antitrust action against Apple, involving the length of time that iPhone users must use AT&T’s voice and data services.

Judges Diarmuid O’Scannlain and William Fletcher have issued a one-page summary affirmance of the certification, which Judge James Ware of the Northern District of California granted on July 8, 2010. The Ninth Circuit case is Holman v. Apple Inc., and the case in the district court is called Apple & AT&T Antitrust Litigation.

The class encompasses “All persons who purchased or acquired an iPhone in the United States and entered into a two-year agreement with Defendant AT&T Mobility, LLC for iPhone voice and data service anytime from June 29, 2007 to the present.”

Plaintiffs assert that Apple and AT&T violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act by agreeing to bind iPhones to AT&T’s network for five years, even though consumers who bought iPhones agreed to contracts with AT&T lasting only two years.

In His July 8 opinion, Judge Ware held that the plaintiffs satisfied the required class criteria of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation. Judge Ware also held that the class could seek injunctive relief, despite the significant monetary damages that the plaintiffs sought.

The July 8 opinion also dismissed several of plaintiffs’ claims stemming from allegations that Apple intentionally disabled the iPhones of consumers who had installed unauthorized third-party software.

The 9th Circuit opinion is No. 10-80145, and the District Court case is No. C-07-05152 JW (available at 2010 WL 3521965).

Tagged in: Antitrust Litigation,