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Google avoids jury trial by sending $2.3 million test to US authorities


At Google headquarters, the company's logo is seen on the glass exterior of a building.

Getty Pictures | Justin Sullivan

Google has achieved its aim of avoiding a jury trial in a single antitrust case after sending a $2.3 million test to the US Division of Justice. Google will face a bench trial, a trial performed by a decide and not using a jury, after a ruling right now that the preemptive test is large enough to cowl any damages which may have been awarded by a jury.

“I’m happy that the cashier’s test satisfies any damages declare,” US District Decide Leonie Brinkema stated after a listening to within the Japanese District of Virginia on Friday, in line with Bloomberg. “A good studying of the knowledgeable studies doesn’t help” the next quantity, Brinkema stated.

The test was reportedly for $2,289,751. “As a result of the damages are not a part of the case, Brinkema dominated a jury is not wanted and she’s going to oversee the trial, set to start in September,” in line with Bloomberg.

The fee was uncommon, however so was the US request for a jury trial as a result of antitrust circumstances are sometimes heard by a decide and not using a jury. The US argued {that a} jury ought to rule on damages as a result of US authorities companies have been overcharged for promoting.

The US opposed Google’s movement to strike the jury demand in a submitting final week, arguing that “the test it delivered didn’t really compensate the US for the complete extent of its claimed damages” and that “the unilateral provide of fee was improperly premised on Google’s insistence that such fee ‘not be construed’ as an admission of damages.”

The federal government’s damages knowledgeable calculated damages that have been “a lot larger” than the quantity cited by Google, the US submitting stated. In final week’s submitting, the upper damages quantity sought by the federal government was redacted.

Lawsuit targets Google promoting

The US and eight states sued Google in January 2023 in a lawsuit associated to the corporate’s promoting know-how enterprise. There at the moment are 17 states concerned within the case.

Google’s objection to a jury trial stated that related antitrust circumstances have been tried by judges due to their technical and sometimes summary nature. “To safe this uncommon posture, a number of weeks earlier than submitting the Grievance, on the eve of Christmas 2022, DOJ attorneys scrambled round searching for companies on whose behalf they might search damages,” Google stated.

The US and states’ lawsuit claimed that Google “corrupted professional competitors within the advert tech business” in a plan to “neutralize or get rid of advert tech rivals, precise or potential, via a sequence of acquisitions” and “wield its dominance throughout digital promoting markets to drive extra publishers and advertisers to make use of its merchandise whereas disrupting their skill to make use of competing merchandise successfully.”

The US authorities lawsuit stated that federal companies purchased over $100 million in promoting since 2019 and aimed to recuperate treble damages for Google’s alleged overcharges on these purchases. However the authorities narrowed its claims to the advert purchases of simply eight companies, reducing the potential damages quantity.

Google despatched the test in mid-Could. Whereas the quantity wasn’t initially public, Google stated it contained “each greenback the US may conceivably hope to recuperate beneath the damages calculation of the US’ personal knowledgeable.” Google additionally stated it “continues to dispute legal responsibility and welcomes a full decision by this Courtroom of all remaining claims within the Grievance.”

US: We would like extra

The US disagreed that $2.3 million was the utmost it may recuperate. “Underneath the legislation, Google should pay the US the utmost quantity it may presumably recuperate at trial, which Google has not achieved,” the US stated. “And Google can’t situation acceptance of that fee on its assertion that the US was not harmed within the first place. In doing so, Google makes an attempt to grab the strategic upside of satisfying the US’ damages declare (doubtlessly permitting it to keep away from judgment by a jury) whereas on the identical time avoiding the strategic draw back of the US being free to argue the commonsense inference that Google’s fee, is, at minimal, an acknowledgment of the hurt achieved to federal company advertisers who used Google’s advert tech instruments.”

In a submitting on Wednesday, Google stated the DOJ beforehand agreed that its claims amounted to lower than $1 million earlier than trebling and pre-judgment curiosity. The test despatched by Google was for the precise quantity after trebling and curiosity, the submitting stated. However the “DOJ now ignores this undisputed reality, providing up a model new determine, beforehand uncalculated by any DOJ knowledgeable, unsupported by the file, and by no means disclosed,” Google advised the courtroom.

Siding with Google at right now’s listening to, Brinkema “stated the quantity of Google’s test lined the best doable quantity the federal government had sought in its preliminary filings,” the Related Press reported. “She likened receipt of the cash, which was paid unconditionally to the federal government no matter whether or not the tech big prevailed in its arguments to strike a jury trial, as equal to ‘receiving a wheelbarrow of money.'”

Whereas the US misplaced its try to get hold of extra damages than Google supplied, the lawsuit additionally seeks an order declaring that Google illegally monopolized the market. The grievance requests a breakup by which Google must divest “the Google Advert Supervisor suite, together with each Google’s writer advert server, DFP, and Google’s advert change, AdX.”

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