Late last week and early this week, both of the plaintiffs in the ongoing class action iPod lawsuit that Apple is fighting in court were disqualified, leading Apple to file for a dismissal. The judge presiding over the case ruled that the lawsuit would continue, however, and lawyers for the plaintiffs have now tracked down a replacement, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Barbara Bennett, a 65-year-old amateur ice dancer from Boston was flown into Oakland this morning to testify in the U.S. District Court. Bennett reportedly purchased an iPod in late 2006, which falls within the September 12, 2006 to March 31, 2009 dates covered in the lawsuit.
Bennett told the court how she learned to skate backwards and used iPods while skating. Attorneys questioned her about when she purchased the devices. The iPod Nano she bought in late 2006 appeared to qualify her as a class member.
"We're on the right track," Judge Rogers said to the attorneys after they interviewed Bennett.
Judge Rogers initially offered to put the trial on hold for two days to give Apple time to investigate new plaintiffs, but the company declined, leading the judge to continue the trial. She also informed Apple that the snafu over plaintiff purchase dates could give the Cupertino company a reason to appeal. "You now have an appealable issue," she told Apple attorneys.
The iPod lawsuit has received quite a bit of attention since it began last week, as it featured a video deposition and emails from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In the case, the plaintiffs have argued that Apple had an obligation to allow third-party companies to load music onto the iPod, and that its moves to block competitors created a monopoly.
Apple, however, has argued that pressure from record companies and a desire to protect customers from malicious content kept it from making iTunes and the iPod more accessible to third-party companies. The lawsuit, which seeks $350 million in damages, is expected to last for several more days, with the jury deliberating on a verdict next week.