On March 6, the US Department of Justice, along with Virginia and other state plaintiffs, filed a court document opposing Google’s request to transfer its antitrust case related to advertising technology from Virginia to New York. The Justice Department warned of prolonged litigation if Google’s request to relocate the case was granted.
The case, filed in January in Alexandria, Virginia, accuses Google of anticompetitive behaviour in its advertising practices and poses a significant threat to a crucial part of the Alphabet Inc. unit’s business. The plaintiffs argued that federal and state enforcers deserved “substantial deference” in deciding where to bring a lawsuit.
Google has denied the allegations of antitrust violations in its digital advertising practices.
On Monday, a representative for Google and its lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer did not respond immediately to messages seeking comment. The Department of Justice also declined to comment.
Google has requested that U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria transfer the antitrust lawsuit related to its advertising practices to Manhattan, where other related cases are pending as part of multidistrict litigation. The tech giant has argued that consolidation would minimize the potential for inconsistent rulings.
However, the DOJ has opposed the transfer, arguing that moving the case to the Southern District of New York would not eliminate the chance of divergent trial judgments or appellate decisions. The government also noted that cases consolidated in New York can return to their originating district courts for trial.
The DOJ, along with Virginia and other states, including New York and California, said in their filing that transferring the case to Manhattan would result in a trial in 2025 at the earliest. They emphasized the need for swift action given the dynamic nature of Google’s anticompetitive conduct across the ad tech industry and the rapid pace of change in technology.
In response, Google’s lawyers maintained their argument that the government’s case lagged behind other pending ad tech antitrust cases and added nothing of substance to those earlier-filed cases.