Antitrust class action against Apple and AT&T certified

Posted on: August 16th, 2010 by Steve Larson

US District Court Judge James Ware sitting in the Northern District of California (San Jose Division) certified a class action asserting monopolization in violation of the Sherman Act against Apple and AT&T.  The plaintiffs allege that although they were required to purchase a two-year service agreement with AT&T Mobility when they purchased their iPhones, Apple and AT&T Mobility had secretly agreed to technologically restrict voice and data service in the aftermarket for continued voice and data services for five years.

The case is important because it is one of the first trial court decisions applying the factors from the Ninth Circuit Dukes v. Walmart decision referred to earlier in this blog.  Defendants Apple and AT&T challenged Plaintiff’s expert saying he offered a flawed analysis of damages.  The court stated that although it did not have to resolve a battle of experts at this stage, it had to at least be satisfied that the plaintiff’s expert’s methodology is “capable of raising a common question.”  The court found that plaintiff’s expert employed the proper general methodology – known as the but-for method, and although there may be issues about how broad the expert’s approach was, plaintiffs had offered sufficient evidence of the ability to prove antitrust impact on a class wide basis.

Click Apple-ATT-Class-Certification-Order to see a copy of the court’s order certifying the class action.