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Google Pays To Sidestep a Jury in Major Antitrust Trial

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US District Judge Leonie Brinkema has decided that Google’s ongoing antitrust lawsuit (separate from the lawsuit targeting its search engine monopoly) will proceed without a jury, an outcome that some critics view as favorable for Google. This follows Google’s strategic move to settle the government’s demand for financial restitution by paying just $2.3 million, precisely the amount the lawsuit sought in damages. This payment effectively eliminated the requirement for a jury to adjudicate the matter, aligning with Google’s preference for a bench trial—a decision that raises questions about the transparency and impartiality of the proceedings.

We obtained a copy of the filing for you here.

This case is particularly significant as it represents the first major antitrust challenge against a Big Tech firm under the Biden administration, targeting Google’s alleged dominance in the advertising technology market. The lawsuit accuses Google of stifling competition through aggressive acquisition strategies and coercing advertisers and publishers into using its specialized ad tech products, practices that could undermine the principles of a free and open market.

The exclusion of a jury could likely benefit Google, given the intricate and technical nature of antitrust law which might be more favorably interpreted in a non-jury environment.

In a statement, Google’s spokesperson, Peter Schottenfels, defended the court’s ruling and their actions, asserting, “DOJ’s contrived damages claim has disintegrated. We’re glad the Court ruled that this case will be tried by a judge,” and denounced the DOJ’s lawsuit as a baseless attempt to manipulate the competitive dynamics of a vibrant industry.

The court is scheduled to convene on June 21 to deliberate on Google’s motion for a summary dismissal of the case. Should the court reject this motion, the proceedings will continue with a bench trial in September. As the case unfolds, it remains to be seen how the absence of a jury will impact the final judgment and the broader implications for antitrust enforcement in the tech industry.

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