June 17, 2024

Judge rules Google won’t have to go to jury in US digital advertising case

A federal judge ruled Friday that Alphabet’s Google won’t face a jury trial after it wrote a check to the United States.

U.S. The Department of Justice and a coalition of states sued the tech giant last year, alleging the company illegally monopolized digital advertising and overcharged users. Google said the jury trial would have been the first time a civil antitrust case had been brought by the Justice Department.

Friday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia means Google will not go to arbitration in the case.

Google confirmed that Brinkema, who had previously scheduled a jury trial in September, made the decision during the court hearing, but declined to comment further on Friday.

The company has denied wrongdoing and said it is not accepting liability by paying compensation.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Google said last month that the government, which had originally sought more than $100 million in damages, was unable to provide more than $1 million in damages and issued a check to cover that amount. The final amount has not been disclosed.

Google accused the federal government of fabricating its damages claim to ensure a jury trial, since non-monetary claims in antitrust cases are heard directly by judges.

The Justice Department has responded that it is willing to settle for part of its damages, but only if Google writes a bigger check.

“Google has fought hard to hide its anti-competitive behavior from the public,” Brinkema’s government told Brinkema last month. (Reporting by Mike Scarcella; Editing by David Barrio and Alexander Smith)

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