A Second Circuit panel has granted the request from state enforcers to return their lawsuit against Google, accusing the tech giant of monopolizing digital advertising technology, to Texas. This decision comes just one day after oral arguments were heard regarding the motion to send the case back to the Lone Star State.
The panel’s one-page order states that Google has failed to demonstrate “exceptional circumstances” that would warrant reversing a previous decision by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). The JPML had separated the state-led enforcement action from a multidistrict litigation (MDL) centralized in New York, which includes similar cases from advertisers, publishers, and others.
The transfer of the case had been on hold due to an administrative stay issued by the Second Circuit last month. However, the recent order also lifted that stay, as reported by Law360.
The case in question is led by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which has accused Google of violating antitrust laws through its control over crucial technology used for placing advertisements on third-party websites. The lawsuit was filed in late 2020 and was later included in the MDL alongside similar claims from private parties in 2021.
the U.S. Department of Justice and a separate group of states have a similar case against Google in the Eastern District of Virginia, which is proceeding independently, reported Law360.
The JPML had remanded the state-led case to Texas in June based on the State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act. This act, passed by Congress late last year as part of the year-end appropriations bill, prevents antitrust cases brought by state enforcers from being included in MDLs. Google had argued that the provision should not apply retroactively, but the JPML rejected this contention.
The states involved in the lawsuit are represented by their respective attorneys general, as well as legal teams from The Lanier Firm PLLC and Keller Postman LLC. W. Mark Lanier, Alex J. Brown, Zeke DeRose, Ashley Keller, Jason A. Zweig, Zina Bash, and Noah S. Heinz are among the attorneys representing the states.
On the other side, Google is represented by lawyers from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Hogan Lovells. Eric Mahr, Andrew Ewalt, Neal Kumar Katyal, Jo-Ann Tamila Sagar, William E. Havemann, and Jessica L. Ellsworth are part of Google’s legal team, according to Law360.
This latest development in the ongoing legal battle between Google and state enforcers highlights the complex nature of antitrust litigation in the digital advertising industry. As the case returns to Texas, both sides will continue to present their arguments, and the outcome will have significant implications for the future of competition within the sector.