Judge Thomas S. Hixson of U.S District Court Northern District of California, has granted Apple fourteen hours deposition of Dr. David Evans, an Epic Games expert witness. Dr.Evans is one of the three economists who have given opinions that supports the developer’s argument that Apple’s iOS App Store is a monopoly which puts developers at a disadvantage by controlling distribution and payment methods on the digital marketplace.
The Epic Games vs. Apple in-person trial will commence on May 3 with a limitation of 6 attendees from each side due to COVID-19 precautionary measures. Based on the testimonies of experts, the court will decide whether Apple’s App Store will stay in its control or the court will order the company to allow developers to push a direct payment system for the apps on the iPhone maker’s digital marketplace. Therefore, Judge Hixson wants to give both sides fair time to assess prejudice in the experts’ opinions.
Judge grants Apple the requested time for a thorough deposition of Epic Games expert witness
Deciding the length of deposition of 3 experts from Epic and 4 experts from Apple, Judge Hixson has based his ruling on the scope rather than just the volume of the reports submitted by each expert. Therefore, he ruled:
Let’s turn to Evans. His reports total 653 pages. Expert reports of that length easily justify 14 hours of deposition. And the issue is not just how long his reports are. The Court has reviewed the economists’ reports in-camera, and Evans’ opinions cover nearly every disputed economic issue in this lawsuit.
Epic is using Evans to cover the waterfront. There is nothing wrong with Epic doing that, but both Epic and Evans must have understood that expert opinions of such scope and length would necessitate two full days of deposition. Denying Apple 14 hours with which to depose Evans would unfairly prejudice Apple’s ability to take discovery into his opinions.
In addition, the court also granted Epic 10 hours and 30 minutes disposition of Dr. Schmalensee and Dr. Hitt (Apple’s experts), each.
Hitt’s 287- page integrated report and Schmalensee’s 209-page integrated report merit more than the default seven hours for deposition. And again, the issue is not just the number of pages but the United States District Court Northern District of California a substantive scope of the reports. An extra half-day for Epic to depose Hitt and Schmalensee is justified by the nature of their report.
Accordingly, the Court orders that Apple may depose Evans for 14 hours, and Epic may depose Hitt and Schmalensee each for 10.5 hours.