State of California Seeks to Join as Plaintiff in Department of Justice’s Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

On Friday, December 11, 2020, the State of California filed a motion for joinder in United States of America et al v. Google, LLC, the antitrust lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Justice in October against Google. Eleven states are already named parties in the complaint; California is the first Democratic state to join the lawsuit.

The Department of Justice filed its antitrust complaint against Google on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas were also named plaintiffs when the complaint was filed. The complaint alleges violations of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. ยง 2, and seeks to “restrain Google LLC. . . from unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices, and to remedy the effects of this conduct.” The complaint also references Google’s previous stance in United States v. Microsoft in comparison to its current practices, stating “Google claimed Microsoft’s practices were anticompetitive, and yet, now, Google deploys the same playbook to sustain its own monopolies. But Google did learn one thing from Microsoft – to choose its words carefully to avoid antitrust scrutiny.” According to the complaint, as a consequence of Google’s alleged anticompetitive practices, “countless advertisers must pay a toll to Google’s search advertising and general search text advertising monopolies; American consumers are forced to accept Google’s policies, privacy practices, and use of personal data; and new companies with innovative business models cannot emerge from Google’s long shadow.”

California’s motion for joinder does not seek to make any substantive changes to the complaint. Rather, the motion for joinder only seeks to make three procedural revisions to the existing complaint: “the addition of a signature block for California, the addition of California to the caption, and the addition of California to the lists of states that appear in two paragraphs.”

Additional Reading

California files to join US Justice Department’s Google antitrust lawsuit, CNET (December 11, 2020)

United States of America et al v. Google LLC

Complaint in United States of America et al v. Google, LLC

State of California’s Motion for Joinder in United States of America et al v. Google LLC

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