Google Avoids Jury Trial in Ad Antitrust Case

( – After sending a $2.3 million check to the U.S. Department of Justice, Google will end with a bench trial instead of a jury trial in its antitrust case.

In January 2023, the U.S. government and eight states sued Google after the company, through its acquisitions, forced advertisers and publishers to use its products, which allegedly “corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry.” According to the lawsuit, the government sought to recover damages for the more than $100 million in advertising that, since 2019, federal agencies had purchased. According to reports, it is estimated the government overpaid for its advertising by nearly $750,000.

The lawsuit also claims Google illegally monopolized the market and requests Google divest its Google Ad Manager suite.

The Department of Justice sought a jury trial despite most antitrust cases usually being heard by a judge during a bench trial. The Department of Justice argued that a jury should determine any damages awarded since Google allegedly overcharged federal agencies for advertising. However, Google claimed that the government manufactured its monetary damages claim in an attempt to ensure a jury trial.

In submitting the damages payment, Google stated it was not admitting liability, adding that the case was a “meritless attempt to pick winners and losers in a highly competitive industry.” Google noted its $2.3 million payment accounted for interest and any potential damages a jury may have awarded.

However, the government claimed that Google’s $2.3 million preemptive payment did not fully compensate them for their claimed damages.

On June 8, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled in favor of Google, arguing that the preemptive payment was adequate to cover any damages that a jury might have potentially awarded, stating that “the cashier’s check satisfies any damages claim.”

The case has moved to a bench trial, which will begin in September and that Brinkema will oversee.

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