Apple has introduced a massive wrinkle in the class action lawsuit being tried over iPod and iTunes, questioning the standing of any plaintiff. The company filed court documents questioning whether any plaintiff bought or owned an iPod made between September of 2006 and March of 2009, the period covered by the class action.
According to The New York Times, Apple filed documents with Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers that show an iPod owned by Marianna Rosen of New Jersey, one of two named plaintiffs, was purchased after the covered period.
The same was the case for an iPod purchased by Melanie Tucker of North Carolina, the only other named plaintiff in the case. According to Apple, Ms. Tucker's iPod touch was purchased in 2010.
Apple said it has asked plaintiff's attorneys for proof of other iPods purchased by the plaintiffs, but they have yet to respond.
“I am concerned that I don’t have a plaintiff,” Judge Rogers said. “That’s a problem.” The judge also said she would research the issue on her own, and told both parties she wanted this addressed quickly.
Both plaintiffs have apparently claimed to have purchased other iPods, but Apple is claiming there is, as yet, no proof. That said, even if the plaintiffs can't be plaintiffs, that doesn't necessarily mean the attorneys involved couldn't find one. Plenty of people bought iPods during the covered period—it would come down to whether the judge allowed it.
If not, this could be a relatively quick out for Apple on this suit.
The lawsuit has been in the works in one form or another since 2005, but just went to trial on Tuesday. Apple is being accused of trying to dominate the portable media player and online music store markets in violation of antitrust law.
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