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Bottomless Pockets Win Again: Google Avoids Jury Trial in Advertising Antitrust Case

bottomless-pockets-win-again:-google-avoids-jury-trial-in-advertising-antitrust-case
Bottomless Pockets Win Again: Google Avoids Jury Trial in Advertising Antitrust Case

Google has successfully circumvented a jury trial in an antitrust case by sending a $2.3 million check to the DOJ, which a judge deemed sufficient to cover potential damages.

Ars Technica reports that Google has managed to avoid a jury trial in an antitrust case by sending a $2.3 million check to the U.S. Department of Justice. The preemptive payment was deemed adequate by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema to cover any damages that might have been awarded by a jury. As a result, the case will now proceed with a bench trial, overseen by Judge Brinkema, set to begin in September.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, attends a press event to announce Google as the new official partner of the Women's National Team at Google Berlin. Photo: Christoph Soeder/dpa (Photo by Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, attends a press event to announce Google as the new official partner of the Women’s National Team at Google Berlin. Photo: Christoph Soeder/dpa (Photo by Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The unusual move by Google came in response to the U.S. government’s request for a jury trial, which is atypical in antitrust cases. The U.S. argued that a jury should determine damages because government agencies were allegedly overcharged for advertising. However, Google’s payment of $2,289,751 was seen as sufficient by the judge, who stated, “I am satisfied that the cashier’s check satisfies any damages claim.”

The U.S. government, along with eight states, initially sued Google in January 2023, alleging that the company “corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry” through a series of acquisitions and by forcing publishers and advertisers to use its products. The lawsuit claimed that federal agencies had purchased over $100 million in advertising since 2019 and sought to recover treble damages for alleged overcharges.

Despite the U.S. government’s opposition to Google’s motion to strike the jury demand, arguing that the payment did not fully compensate for the claimed damages, Judge Brinkema sided with Google. She likened the receipt of the unconditional payment to “receiving a wheelbarrow of cash,” regardless of whether Google prevailed in its arguments to strike a jury trial.

While the U.S. government lost its bid to obtain more damages than Google offered, the lawsuit also seeks a declaration that Google illegally monopolized the market. The complaint requests a breakup, requiring Google to divest its Google Ad Manager suite, including its publisher ad server, DFP, and ad exchange, AdX.

Read more at Ars Technica here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.

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