Alphabet’s Google has presented a new argument in front of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, urging the court to prevent Texas and other states from relocating their antitrust case against the tech giant from New York to Texas. Google cautioned that such a move could disrupt related litigation concerning the company’s digital advertising practices.
The dispute revolves around a court order allowing Texas to transfer its antitrust case back to its home state, where it initially sued Google in 2020, according to a report by Reuters. This appeal marks the first test of a new federal law enacted in December 2022, allowing state attorneys general to select their preferred venue for antitrust lawsuits.
In their lawsuit, Texas and a coalition of other states accused Google of wielding its dominance in online searches over the digital advertising market. If successful, the suit could result in damages and a potential mandate for Google to divest some of its assets. Google has consistently labeled the lawsuit as “meritless”.
The case was incorporated into multidistrict litigation in Manhattan in 2021, where a U.S. judge is currently reviewing lawsuits from various other plaintiffs, including advertisers and publishers. In a significant development, the federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, responsible for handling venue disputes, ruled in August that Texas could withdraw from the consolidated New York litigation.
During Tuesday’s hearing, members of the three-judge 2nd Circuit panel expressed skepticism regarding Google’s plea for Texas to remain in New York. Circuit Judge Richard Wesley posed a critical question to Google’s attorney, Jessica Ellsworth, saying, “Would you identify for me how sending the case back to Texas increases your liability or imposes new duties on you? Because your brief says nothing about it.”