Amazon won a dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit brought by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine that accused the retail giant of preventing third-party sellers from offering better prices and deals on other platforms.
D.C. Superior Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo scrapped the case Friday in an oral ruling.
The D.C. attorney general’s office said it is considering its legal options but plans to “continue fighting to develop reasoned antitrust jurisprudence in our local courts” and hold Amazon accountable.
“We believe that the Superior Court got this wrong, and its oral ruling did not seem to consider the detailed allegations in the complaint, the full scope of the anticompetitive agreements, the extensive briefing, and a recent decision of a federal court to allow a nearly identical lawsuit to move forward,” a spokesperson for the Office of the D.C. Attorney General said in a statement.
No written explanation for the judge’s decision was available in the court’s online docket, and Judge Puig-Logo’s chambers did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
The attorney general’s lawsuit is nearly identical to a federal class-action suit filed in Seattle alleging that Amazon restricts sellers from competing on pricing elsewhere. The plaintiffs included consumers in 18 states.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones in Washington denied a portion of Amazon’s request to dismiss that case while dismissing other components of the lawsuit. The case is proceeding, with the plaintiffs set to file an amended lawsuit within a month of the judge’s March order keeping the case alive.
While local and federal courts adjudicate complaints related to Amazon’s marketplace, Congress may intervene too.
In January, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which aims to block tech companies from highlighting their own products on their own platforms and downgrading their competitors. The bill awaits final consideration by the full Senate.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at email@example.com.
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