Unites States of America v. Apple, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER # 102454: Bob Kohn's September 7, 2012 motion to intervene is denied. (Signed by Judge Denise L. Cote on 10/2/2012) (js) Modified on 10/5/2012 (ft).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
12 Civ. 2826 (DLC)
OPINION & ORDER
APPLE, INC., et al.,
For plaintiff the United States:
Mark W. Ryan
Lawrence E. Buterman
Stephen T. Fairchild
United States Department of Justice
450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 4000
Washington, DC 20530
For defendant HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C.:
Clifford H. Aronson
Paul M. Eckles
C. Scott Lent
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Four Times Square
New York, NY 10036-6522
For defendants Hachette Book Group, Inc. and Hachette Digital,
Walter B. Stuart
Samuel J. Rubin
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP
601 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Richard S. Snyder
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP
701 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20004
For defendants Simon & Schuster, Inc. and Simon & Schuster
Digital Sales, Inc.
James W. Quinn
Yehudah L. Buchweitz
Weill Gotshal, & Manges LLP
767 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10153-0119
Helene D. Jaffe
Proskauer Rose LLP
Eleven Times Square
New York, NY 10036-8299
Martha E. Gifford
Law Office of Martha E. Gifford
137 Montague Street #220
Brooklyn, NY 11201
For amicus curiae Bob Kohn:
140 E. 28th St.
New York, NY 10016
18400 Von Karman Ave., Suite 800
Irvine, CA 92612-0514
DENISE COTE, District Judge:
On September 7, 2012, Bob Kohn ("Kohn") moved to intervene
in this action for the sole purpose of filing an appeal. 1
seeks to appeal from the final judgment of September 6 ("Final
Kohn was granted permission to submit an amicus brief in this
litigation by Order of August 28, 2012.
Judgmentll) as to plaintiff the United States of America ("the
Government ll ) and defendants Hachette Book Group, Inc.
HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C.
and Simon & Schuster, Inc.
("HarperCollins ll )
("Simon & Schuster ll )
"Settling Defendants ll ), and the Opinion and Order of September 5
granting entry of the Final Judgment.
United States v. Apple,
Inc., No. 12 Civ. 2826 (DLC) , 2012 WL 3865135 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 5,
The Final Judgment approved the settlement by three of
six defendants of antitrust claims brought by the Government
arising out of a pattern of agency agreements executed in
January 2010 for the sale of e-books.
For the following
reasons, the motion to intervene is denied.
Kohn describes himself as a "consumer of digital goods,
author of a treatise on copyright, and founder and CEO of
technology companies directly involved in the digital
distribution of music and e-books.1I
Kohn argues that he is "as
well-situated as any consumer ll to demonstrate that the Final
Judgment is not in the public interest.
The Government and Settling Defendants have each opposed
Kohn's motion to intervene.
The motion was fully submitted on
Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides in
relevant part that "[o]n timely motion, the court may permit
anyone to intervene who .
has a claim or defense that shares
with the main action a common question of law or fact."
Ci v. P. 24 (b) (1) (B)
The words \" claim or defense r manifestly
refer to the kinds of claims or defenses that can be raised in
courts of law as part of an actual or impending lawsuit."
Diamond v. Charlesr 476 U.S. 54
(OrConnor r J.
A district court has broad discretion in deciding whether
to grant permissive intervention.
See Restor-A-Dent Dental Lab.
v. Certified Alloy Prod. r 725 F.2d 871 r 876-77
(2d Cir. 1984)
In exercising its discretion r a district court must consider
whether granting the request "will unduly delay or prejudice the
adjudication of the original parties r rights."
Fed. R. Civ. P.
Additional relevant factors
include the nature and extent of the intervenors r
interests r the degree to which those interests are
adequately represented by other parties r and whether
parties seeking intervention will significantly contribute
to [the] full development of the underlying factual issues
in the suit and to the just and equitable adjudication of
the legal questions presented.
H.L. Hayden Co. of N'Y'r
Inc. v. Siemens Med. Sys.r Inc' r 797
F.2d 85 r 89 (2d Cir. 1986)
(citation omitted) .
Kohn fails to demonstrate that he should be permitted to
Kohnrs expressed interest in the action is as a
"consumer of e-books and e-book systems" who fears that the
Kohn does not claim that he is entitled to intervention as a
matter of right pursuant to Rule 24(a)
Final Judgment may result in consumers paying less "efficient"
prices for e-books or that it may stifle competition in what
Kohn terms the e-books systems market.
According to Kohn, he
and other consumers believe that even though they paid higher
prices for some e-books as a result of the defendants'
activities, they have nonetheless benefitted because they paid
"more efficient prices" and because the defendants' activities
increased competition in what he considers the relevant market.
As he puts it, higher prices are in this instance "good for
Kohn represents that he is prepared to file an
answer to the complaint in order to raise defenses that the
defendants have not or may not interpose in this action.
acknowledges that he has not formally sought to represent a
class of consumers in this litigation, but argues that if he had
chosen to file the motion to intervene as a motion to certify a
class action on behalf of consumers, then he may very well have
satisfied the Rule 23 requirements.
As the description of Kohn's argument underscores, Kohn
does not suggest that his individual rights will be impaired in
any way if he is not permitted to intervene.
U.S. at 76-77.
See Diamond, 476
Kohn's legal theories are not "claims or
defenses" that share a common question of law or fact with the
claims and defenses of the parties, as envisioned by Rule 24(b)
One consolidated putative class action and two parens patriae
actions have already been filed to represent the interests of
consumers in this antitrust litigation.
While Kohn wishes to
assist the defendants in this litigation and proffers arguments
in their defense, the lawyers representing the putative class
and the many States that have filed the parens patriae actions
have brought claims against the defendants.
Kohn has not argued
that he -- and the "millions" of other consumers on whose behalf
he contends he speaks -- should be treated as defendants.
does anyone suggest that consumers are in violation of the
The six defendants in this litigation are fully capable of
framing their own defenses.
There remain three defendants who
have not settled with the Government and who vigorously dispute
its theory of the case and its claims.
All three opposed entry
of the Final Judgment, including the Court's public interest
Apple, 2012 WL 3865135, at *8.
Kohn does not
explain why these parties, each of whom is represented by
sophisticated counsel, is not capable of making each of the
legal and factual arguments against the settlement that they
believe defendants should make.
Approval of this motion to intervene would also prejudice
the adjudication of the rights of the parties to the Final
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(b) (3).
The parties to that
judgment have settled, and they are entitled to litigation
In addition, the Court of Appeals should not be burdened
by an appeal filed by a member of the public who does not
qualify as an intervenor under the federal rules.
Moreover, Kohn's analysis of the factual and legal issues
in this case has already been considered, and he may have a
further opportunity to present his views and to have them
considered anew, albeit not as an intervenor.
Kohn was a full
participant in the Tunney Act public comment process and was
granted permission to make an amicus curiae submission. 3
2012 WL 3865135, at *4.
Through these two avenues, he was given
a full opportunity to express his personal views on the
Government's theory of the case and the state of competition in
the e-books market.
Courts, however, deny permissive
intervention for those who seek merely to advance their own view
as to what might be preferable for the public.
See Buckeye Coal
& Railway Co. v. Hocking Valley Railway Co., 269 U.S. 42, 49
(the United States "must alone speak for the public
see also United States v. Associated Milk Producers,
Inc., 534 F.2d 113, 117-118 (8th Cir. 1976) i cf. Sam Fox Pub.
Co. v. United States, 366 U.S. 683, 689 (1961)
Kohn argues that his motion to intervene should be granted
since this Court allowed him to appear as amicus curiae. As is
customary, this Court granted every application it received to
be heard as a friend of the Court. A motion to intervene,
however, is governed by a federal rule of procedure and the
well-established principles set forth above.
intervention as of right absent a claim of "bad faith or
malfeasance on the part of the Government") .
Apple has represented that it will appeal the Final
Assuming it is determined that Apple has a right to
do so, Kohn will then have the opportunity to apply to the Court
of Appeals to appear as an amicus curiae in that forum.
granted that right, Kohn will be able to present those arguments
that he believes it is important for the appellate court to
consider, including any arguments that appellants do not choose
Kohn suggests that a motion to intervene in a Tunney Act
proceeding for the purposes of filing an appeal is governed by
different standards than other Rule 24 motions.
But, in all the
cases on which he relies, the courts grounded their decisions to
grant or deny intervention on the provisions of Rule 24.
J. Inc. v. Van Hollen, 578 F.3d 569, 571-73
(7th Cir. 2009) i
Massachusetts v. Microsoft Corp., 373 F.3d 1199, 1234
Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, Inc. v. United
States, 118 F.3d 776, 779-80
(D.C. Cir. 1997) i United States v.
LTV Corp., 746 F.2d 51, 54-55 (D.C. Cir. 1984) i United States v.
American Tel. & Tel. Co., 642 F.2d 1285, 1291-93
("AT&T I") i United States v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., 552
Kohn does not suggest, nor could he, that he would have a
superior right to file an appeal from the Final Judgment than
Apple, who is a defendant in the action.
F. Supp. 131, 218-20
(D.D.C. 1982), aff'd, Maryland v. United
States, 460 U.S. 1001 (1983)
Moreover, the parties
who were granted leave to intervene for purposes of appeal in
these cases all shared identifiable legal claims with the main
action and were not simply members of the public who had
expressed a view during the Tunney Act proceedings. s
578 F.3d at 572-73
(association of competitor gasoline
dealers); Microsoft, 373 F.3d at 1234-35 (competitor
communications and software firms); AT&T I, 642 F.2d at 1291,
1293, 1295 (creator of database documents at issue in the
Kohn's reliance on AT&T II to support his contention that
"courts have routinely authorized post-judgment intervention for
purpose of appeal by individuals or organizations who submitted
comments to the Justice Department during Tunney Act
proceedings" is misguided. When considering the question of
what participation, if any, should be afforded to applicants for
intervention in "post-judgment proceedings," the D.C. District
Court suggested that it would apply the standard for
intervention as of right outlined in Rule 24(a), and that
. will be allowed to intervene for the
purpose of appealing the entry of the decree."
Id. at 219 n.365
(emphasis supplied) .
Bob Kohn's September 7, 2012 motion to intervene is denied.
New York, New York
October 2, 2012