CARY – Epic Games scored legal victories in its raging legal battle against Apple and its banning of Epic’s Fortnite from Apple’s app store late Tuesday when a federal judge hearing the lawsuits struck down some Apple claims.

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple had “no basis” for a punitive damages demand against Epic.

”This is a high-stakes breach of contract case and an antitrust case and that’s all in my view,” Rogers said.

Should Apple prevail in the suit and had it been awarded punitive damages the cost could have run into millions of dollars. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has already warned that the Apple ban on Fortnite puts the future of the privately held company at risk.

She also said there was no “tort” claim, Law360 reported.

[“A tort, in common law jurisdiction, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. It can include intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, financial losses, injuries, invasion of privacy, and many other things,] says Wikipedia.]

Rogers added that Apple is on “the losing side” of arguments that it is due money from Epic and that Epic had intentionally interfered with what Courthouse Newsservice described as “prospective economic advantage and conversion.”

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“Epic has abused funds that should be in Apple’s hands,” Apple’s lawyer said, according to CNS.

But Gonzalez Rogers noted Apple doesn’t own the funds, which belong to Epic — Apple is only entitled to a 30% cut.

She added: “The 30% is in dispute.”

“I don’t believe you have a tort action here. I said it before and I’m saying it today,” Gonzalez Rogers said to Apple’s legal team.

“The rest of the breach-of-contract case moves forward,” Bloomberg News noted.

CNS noted that Epic had sought “a judgment dismissing these claims will ensure that the case stays focused on the validity of Apple’s agreements and practices. These are the issues on which Epic’s claims and Apple’s contract-based counterclaim depend.”

Apple disagreed with the tort ruling.

In a statement, Apple insisted tort was justified and “should be actionable under California tort law.”

“It is clear however that Epic breached its contract with Apple,” the statement continued. “In ways the Court described as deceptive and clandestine, Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines that apply equally to every developer who sells digital goods and services. Their reckless behavior made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making it right for them in court next May.”

Regarding intentioanl interference, she added: “You can’t just say it — you actually have to have facts that support it, and you don’t.”

Epic is suing Apple over antitrust issues, including Apple’s manadated 30% collection on sales generated for Epic’s Fortnite game via the Apple app store.

The Cary-based company designed a workaround of Apple’s procedures enabling direct payments to be made to Epic. Apple tossed Fortnite from the store and its iOS operating system as well as related Epic technology including its Unreal game engine – one of the world’s mos popular. The judge later ordered Apple could only exclude Fortnite as the suit continues.

Epic did not respond to a request for comment from CNS.

A trial is expected next year.

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