FORTUNE — It took less than a week for a three-judge panel to issue a ruling in what Fortune‘s Roger Parloff calls “the weird and fascinating grudge match” between Apple (AAPL) and a U.S. District Court Judge.
The particular issue in this case — the first of many expected to reach a higher court — was whether an antitrust watchdog appointed by Judge Denise Cote had the right to request “any” document and interview “any” Apple executive to make sure the company had stopped playing fast and loose with federal antitrust laws.
As expected, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sidestepped the sticky constitutional traps Apple’s legal team had tried to lay and found a path right down the middle.
- It allowed Michael Bromwich — Judge Cote’s appointee — to keep monitoring Apple
- But it also restricted his activities — as Apple had demanded — to making sure the company was developing an antitrust compliance training program
The ruling is mercifully brief — just five paragraphs, attached below. The key passage:
Both sides got to claim victory.
Apple would not comment, but they too seemed pleased. The Judge didn’t get her wrist slapped, as they might have wished. But the company’s complaints about the monitor’s activities seemed vindicated. Implicit in the ruling is the higher court’s judgment that much of what Bromwich had demanded of Apple’s executives and board members was beyond the scope of his — or Judge Cote’s — authority.
The issue of Bromwich’s fees — more than $1,000 an hour, to be paid by Apple for as long as it takes — did not come up.
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