FortniteSource: Epic

What you need to know

  • A judge has ruled in favor of Apple in its dispute with Epic Games over custodians in an upcoming antitrust lawsuit.
  • Despite Epic's protest, a judge said Apple had justified its request and that Epic had not shown Apple had made the request deliberately late.

A judge has ruled that Apple can call upon three additional custodians from Epic Games, using their documents as evidence in its upcoming trial with Fortnite developer.

As we reported yesterday, parties submitted to a District Court in California that despite some back and forth they had been unable to agree on Apple's request to seek documents from three key witnesses at Epic:

The three additional custodians in question are Joseph Babcock, Epic's former CFO, Arjan Brussee, the project lead on Fortnite Mobile and Switch, and Joe Kreiner, Epic's VP of Business Development. Apple says that each of these custodians "serves a unique and critical role in the case."

In an order from the court, Magistrate Judge Thomas Hixson stated:

The Court appreciates the parties' joint discovery letter brief regarding Apple's request for additional Epic document custodians. ECF No. 233. The parties have briefed the dispute well, and the Court can resolve it without a hearing. Apple has justified its request for the three additional custodians. Joseph Babcock's longtime role as Epic's CFO, Arjan Brussee's role with respect to Epic's games on non-iOS platforms, and Joseph Kreiner's various roles are sufficiently weighty and relevant to warrant adding them as custodians. And Epic has not demonstrated that Apple unduly delayed in making this request. Apple's request is therefore granted. IT IS SO ORDERED.

As noted, this means Apple can request documents from three further Epic Games employees including its former CFO Arjan Brussee and the project lead on Fortnite Mobile and Switch, Arjan Brussee.

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Epic and Apple are also currently locking horns about a purported attempt from Apple to delay the trial. In a statement to the court, Epic said Apple "has long been attempting to manufacture delay to resist a schedule that it never wanted."