On December 16, 2020, Texas’ Attorney General together with nine other U.S. States filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google’s advertising technology business (Texas et al v. Google). On March 15, 2021, five additional states joined as plaintiffs.
The lawsuit was amended a second time, on August 4, 2021, to add the states of Louisiana and South Carolina as plaintiffs to both the federal antitrust claims and their own state-law claims. The amended lawsuit now covers claims from the states of Texas, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Kentucky, as well as Puerto Rico. It is also seeking to eliminate the antitrust damages claims under Section 4C of the Clayton Act, which is the only claim that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation could use to combine the case with private proposed class actions for trial.
The plaintiffs allege that Google’s anticompetitive conduct, including deliberately restricting information to favour itself, adversely affects the economies and the general welfare of the states. Another allegation is that Google claims to protect end users’ privacy, while actually violating privacy laws and using privacy concerns as a self-preferencing method over its competitors. With additional claims regarding unlawful agreements between Google and Facebook, the plaintiffs are seeking to remove Google’s monopoly and the facilitation of exclusionary and anticompetitive abuse.
The complaint can be found here.
If you have any questions about the complaint, or any other ongoing cases against Google, please contact Tim Cowen.