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Google Won’t Face Jury Trial in US Digital Ads Case

Google Won’t Face Jury Trial in US Digital Ads Case

Ivana Shteriova June 26, 2024
June 26, 2024
A federal judge ruled that Google won’t face a jury trial for allegedly monopolizing the digital ads market. The judge’s decision comes after the tech giant paid $2.3 million to the US government to cover damages related to the case.

US District Judge Leonie Brinkema had initially scheduled a jury trial for Google’s case in September. Brinkema ruled Google’s payment was the highest possible amount sought by the government and, therefore, sufficient to cover any damages that a jury might have awarded. Because non-monetary demands are heard by judges directly in antitrust cases, the government’s right to a jury trial depended on the monetary damages.

Had Google not written the check, it would have been the first-ever jury trial to come from a Department of Justice civil antitrust case, according to Google.

The US Justice Department, together with eight states, sued Google for “monopolizing digital advertising technologies.” The government initially claimed over $100 million in monetary damages, a figure Google accused it of fabricating to secure a jury trial. The government later revised its claim down significantly. Google’s check took into account the potential for damages to be tripled under US antitrust law. Google said its payment is not an admission of wrongdoing.

The financial damages sought by the government are small compared to the non-monetary damages: the lawsuit seeks an order to break up Google’s advertising business.

The tech giant has previously attempted to shut the case, arguing that it “ignores the enormous competition in the online advertising industry” from social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok and their own advertising businesses.

Judge Brinkema also denied a Google motion last fall to order the recusal of a Justice Department official due to his affiliation with Google competitors and critics.

Google is battling another federal antitrust case, in which it is accused of unlawfully monopolizing the search engine market. That case has already seen the conclusion of closing arguments and now awaits the judge’s verdict.

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