Coalition for App Fairness fears retaliation in attempt to quash Apple subpoenas

Coalition for App Fairness fears retaliation in attempt to quash Apple subpoenas

Coalition for App Fairness fears retaliation in attempt to quash Apple subpoenas

The Coalition for App Fairness is fighting three subpoenas from Apple requesting access to internal communications, under claims that it could allow Apple to retaliate against its members.

In a filing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on July 8, the coalition tries to prevent Apple from executing subpoenas, which the iPhone maker has served in connection with a pair of antitrust class action lawsuits.

The subpoenas solicit a series of documents and communications within the coalition and among its members, including its formation, activities, meeting minutes, recruiting efforts, funding, and membership rosters.

However, the coalition does not want to hand over the documents to Apple. Instead, he wants the court to vacate the subpoenas, under claims that it could “chill the frankness” of members’ discussions and confidential political communications.

The group also claims that members fear the disclosure could “expose them to retaliation given Apple’s ability to control access to its ubiquitous iOS platform.” In other words, there are concerns that Apple may use the communications it receives as a reason to block access to the App Store to members of the coalition.

It is claimed that Apple cannot meet a “high standard of relevance” that the documents will go “to the heart of the lawsuit” and is of “central or crucial importance to the case.” The coalition insists that the materials are unrelated to any existing antitrust issue, that Apple is connecting the subpoenas and that it amounts to a “fishing expedition of materials protected by the First Amendment.”

The two proposed class action antitrust cases in the Northern District of California are litigation initiated by app buyers, which were originally filed in September 2011, and Cameron vs. Apple on behalf of app developers, which were filed in September 2019. .

Since the coalition was formed in 2020, and none of its members is a party to any of the lawsuits, the coalition therefore has no connection to the lawsuits or participation in the litigation, making justification even more difficult. of the subpoenas.

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