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Google Requests Judge, Not Jury, to Decide on Antitrust Case

 |  May 19, 2024

Google has requested that a judge, rather than a jury, determine the outcome of a U.S. antitrust lawsuit alleging the company monopolized the technology that underpins online advertising. The tech giant’s motion, filed Thursday, comes ahead of a scheduled jury trial in Alexandria, Virginia, in September.

To support its request, Google presented a multimillion-dollar payment to the U.S. government, arguing this payment nullifies the government’s strongest rationale for insisting on a jury trial.

The Virginia case is one of two significant antitrust lawsuits brought against Google by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This particular lawsuit centers on advertising technology, while a concurrent case in the District of Columbia examines Google’s dominance in the search engine market. In the D.C. case, both sides have completed presenting evidence and making closing arguments, leaving the decision to a judge.

Google’s recent court filing asserts that it is unprecedented for a jury to decide a federal antitrust case initiated by the government, especially one involving complex and technical issues. The company emphasized that such cases typically exceed the understanding of average jurors.

Read more: Turkish Competition Authority Imposes Fine on Google for Local Search Services

“The constitutional right to a jury trial does not extend to civil suits brought by the government,” Google argued. The tech company claims that the DOJ added a damages claim to the lawsuit at the last minute solely to secure a jury trial. Google stated, “The Department of Justice manufactured a damages claim at the last minute in an attempt to secure a jury trial in a case even they describe as ‘highly technical’ and ‘outside the everyday knowledge of most prospective jurors.'”

In its filing, Google disclosed it had paid an amount three times greater than the maximum damages the government claimed it could demonstrate, which was less than $1 million. The exact amount of the payment was redacted from the public record.

Google’s lawyers assert that the right to a jury trial, as outlined in the Bill of Rights, is designed to protect citizens from the federal government, not the reverse. However, they acknowledged that the DOJ has a stronger case for a jury trial when seeking monetary damages rather than just equitable relief, such as forcing Google to divest parts of its ad tech business.

The DOJ is seeking monetary damages on behalf of federal agencies, including the U.S. Army, which it claims overpaid for online advertisements due to Google’s monopolistic practices.

Source: Finance Yahoo