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Google pays preemptive damages to avoid US jury trial


Google parent company Alphabet has preemptively paid damages to the US government in an unusual move thought to be an attempt to avoid a jury trial.

It’s the latest move in the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit leveled at Google over its digital advertising business. The amount paid by the company has not been publicly disclosed but Google claims the amount is enough to cover the alleged overcharges on digital ads. The company is now arguing that the government has no right to a jury trial.

The Justice Department has not yet confirmed whether it will accept the damages payment and declined to comment to Reuters on the filing.

The lawsuit against Google so far

The Justice Department first filed the case against Google last year with Virginia and other states, claiming that the business was stifling competition for digital advertising. The government argued that Google should have to sell its ad manager suite.

The company denied the allegations, going on to claim that the Justice Department “manufactured a damages claim at the last minute in an attempt to secure a jury trial.” The company states that the government views the case as “highly technical” and “outside the everyday knowledge of most prospective jurors.”

The government has until the scheduled hearing on June 21 to respond to Google’s claim. At the moment, the trial is scheduled for September, currently planned to be held before a jury.

Speaking to Reuters, Stanford Law School’s Mark Lemley is skeptical that Google’s preemptive payment will work.

“Antitrust cases regularly go to juries. I think it is a sign that Google is worried about what a jury will do,” Lemley said.

This comes after Google faced two antitrust trials in recent months, with only one (between Google and Fortnite creator Epic Games) involving a jury. In that case, the jury ruled in favor of Epic Games that Google illegally barred competitor Android app stores in order to force app developers to use its own payment system for in-app purchases.

Featured image: Unsplash

The post Google pays preemptive damages to avoid US jury trial appeared first on ReadWrite.


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