• On October 19, 2010, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the petition of Apple and AT&T Mobility for permission to appeal the Northern District of California’s certification of a plaintiff’s class against them. On July 8, 2010, the district court certified a class of iPhone owners for claims alleging that Apple and AT&T unlawfully monopolized the aftermarket for iPhone voice and data services. Although the court had dismissed some claims brought against Apple for trespass to chattels and for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the California Penal Code, and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, it found that the antitrust claims were appropriate for class certification. The case now returns to the district court for further proceedings. Holman v. Apple Inc., No. 10-80145 (9th Cir.); In re Apple & AT&TM Antitrust Litigation, No. 07-5152 (N.D. Cal.).
  • On October 18, 2010, the US District Court for the Northern District of California issued a ruling in a separate class action against Apple and AT&T Mobility in a suit claiming that Apple and AT&T “perpetrated a classic ‘bait and switch’ fraud scheme in connection with the sale of 3G capable iPads for which [AT&T] is the exclusive 3G service provider.” In brief, the suit challenges the defendants’ heavy promotion of AT&T’s unlimited data plan as an inducement to buy the more expensive 3G-enabled iPads, only for AT&T to then withdraw the availability of its unlimited data plans in early June 2010, after the 14-day return window had lapsed. The court denied AT&T’s motion to compel arbitration based on the language of its form customer contracts, noting that the Ninth Circuit and California and Washington district courts have found earlier versions of AT&T’s anti-class-action arbitration provision unconscionable under those states’ laws. The court denied the motion without prejudice, however, pending the Supreme Court’s ruling in the AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion case, in which it will consider weigh the Federal Arbitration Act, which favors arbitration, against the contract-law principle of unconscionability that courts have used to invalidate arbitration clauses like AT&T’s. The Northern District denied Apple’s request to stay discovery pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Concepcion, ruling instead that the plaintiffs may begin written discovery relevant to their claims against Apple. Weisblat v. Apple Inc., No. C-10-02553 (N.D. Cal.).