Judge denies effort by Google to move antitrust suit out of Virginia


A judge on Friday denied an effort by Google to move an antitrust lawsuit out of federal court in Virginia.

Google had sought to move the litigation over its advertising business to New York, where related cases pending against the company have already been consolidated. The Justice Department objected, arguing that moving the matter to New York would risk a quick resolution of the case in question, which alleges that Google’s core advertising business should be broken up.

Justice Department sues Google over online ads

The order was issued by Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in the Eastern District of Virginia.

In seeking to move the case, Google argued that the lawsuit brought in January by the Justice Department and the attorneys general of eight states “is just another in a series of copycat complaints challenging the size and success of Google’s advertising technology,” and noted that the rest of them are going forward in New York. The law has favored consolidating related lawsuits for the convenience of all parties, Google said.

In response, the Justice Department said Congress specifically exempted the Justice Department from any requirement to consolidate related cases. Additionally, such a move “risks expeditious resolution of the Government Plaintiffs’ Complaint, which alleges serious and pervasive harms from Google’s anticompetitive conduct,” the Justice Department said.

The lawsuit argues that Google uses its dominant position in the online ad industry to neutralize the competition. Google has said in response that the government was attempting “to pick winners and losers” by inserting itself into online ad wars.

The case stands to emerge as a key test of the Biden administration’s attempt to break up big technology companies, something the administration has signaled its intent to do without major success so far.

The eight state attorneys general who joined the lawsuit represent California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.

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