Court orders Psystar to pay Apple $5,000 for baseless discovery motion

Wed, Aug 26, 2009

Legal, News

UPDATE: The $5,000 payment Psytar is required to pay Apple stems from Psystar CEO Rudy Pedrazza lying during his deposition, and causing Apple’s legal team to incur unnecessary legal fees.

As a result of filing a motion that Judge Alsup found to be completely baseless, Psystar was ordered earlier this week to pay Apple $5,000 in attorneys fees and, perhaps, to send a message to the beleaguered clonemaker that its antics are starting to wear thin.

Here’s what went down.

The discovery process between Psystar and Apple is in full swing, and it wasn’t too long ago that Psystar bragged on its website that it would soon be deposing some of the higher ups at Apple, with the most notable name on the list being that of Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing.

After deposing Schiller, Psystar filed a motion with the court alleging that Schiller “appeared at his deposition wholly unprepared and unwilling to testify” when questioned about how Psystar’s clone business hurt Apple’s bottom line.

Apple soon responded with its own motion arguing that the information sought by Psystar at Schiller’s deposition was completely outside the scope of what Schiller was qualified and legally expected to answer.  Schiller is a marketing guy, and as Apple points out, Psystar’s line of questioning about Apple’s lost profits and gross margins are typically reserved for a designated expert witness.

From the outset, Psystar’s counsel disregarded the scope of testimony for which Mr. Schiller was designated.  Despite Apple’s objections, Psystar’s counsel sought testimony on the quantification of damages – the subject of expert testimony – rather than the injury suffered by Apple.  Mr. Schiller was fully prepared to discuss the non-quantifiable, irreparable injury to Apple but Psystar’s counsel chose not to ask those questions and terminated the deposition instead.

Even more intriguing was Apple’s assertion that Psystar’s motion was misleading and purposefully left out a number of key facts.

After hearing both sides of the story, Judge Alsup issued a minute entry requiring Psystar to pay Apple $5,000 and requesting that both parties file supplemental briefs with the court by Thursday, August 27.

The ruling from Judge Alsup is somewhat unusual, and suggests that Psystar’s conduct in filing its motion to compel was particularly egregious.  Our guess is that Psystar either filed a misleading brief which left out important facts (as Apple claims), or that Psystar’s questioning of Schiller was so unreasonably broad that its motion to compel the court for yet another deposition was a waste of time and a blatant misuse of the court’s resources.  Either way, Psystar may soon realize that it’s strategy to take on Apple guns blazin’ might not be the best idea when your legal case is tenuous at best.



3 Comments For This Post

  1. Dido Says:

    Psystar seem like a bunch of morons who have no idea what they’re doing.

  2. patz Says:

    The potential kinship with M$ is getting more credible all the time!

  3. TheGnome Says:

    Psystar have been bankrolled by Microsoft from the beginning, but I’m surprised they’re being caught out on amateurish stuff like this.

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