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Google pays damages to US government as it tries to avoid jury trial in antitrust case

Google pays damages to US government as it tries to avoid jury trial in antitrust case


Google has preemptively paid damages to the U.S. government in hopes of avoiding a jury trial in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) high-profile antitrust case involving the tech giant's digital advertising business.

Google disclosed the payments in a court filing last week, but did not specify the amount. Google has argued that the lack of a claim for monetary damages should eliminate the need for a jury trial, suggesting the case could be decided directly by a judge, Reuters reported. .

Last year, the Justice Department, backed by the state of Virginia and others, filed a lawsuit accusing Google of monopolistic behavior in digital advertising. The government claims Google's actions are anti-competitive and wants the company to sell its advertising manager suite. Google has consistently denied these allegations.

Related article: Google asks judge, not jury, to decide antitrust lawsuit

Google criticized the Justice Department's approach in a statement, claiming that the agency “fabricated a last-minute damages claim to ensure a jury trial.” The company argues that the payments cover alleged overcharging for online advertising, and therefore the need for a jury trial is invalidated regardless of whether the government accepts the payments.

The Justice Department has not yet commented on Google's application or said whether it will accept the payment. The case is scheduled to be heard at a hearing scheduled for June 21 in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The trial, originally scheduled to take place in front of a jury, is scheduled to begin in September.

Legal experts are divided on the effectiveness of Google's strategy. Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School expressed skepticism, suggesting a jury could award more damages than Google's upfront payments. “Antitrust cases go to juries on a regular basis, and I think this shows that Google is concerned about what the jury will do,” Lemley said.

Conversely, Herbert Hovenkamp of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law praised Google's move as “smart” in a post on X (formerly Twitter). He stressed that juries are often ill-equipped to handle technical cases and lack the authority to mandate corporate break-ups.

In a 2016 case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an offer of complete relief does not invalidate class action claims. However, Google claims that the situation is different because it provided an actual check rather than just an offer.

Source: Reuters




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