An antitrust lawsuit brought against Amazon by District Attorney General of the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, was thrown in court Friday, according to a report from The New York Times†
DC Superior Court judge Hiram Puig-Lugo granted Amazon’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which accuses the e-commerce giant of anticompetitive behavior by preventing third-party sellers from offering lower prices for their products on other platforms, including their own websites. Court files viewed by the NYT did not specify why Judge Puig-Lugo decided to dismiss the complaint.
“We believe that the Supreme Court was wrong on this point, and its oral ruling did not appear to take into account the detailed allegations contained in the complaint, the full scope of the anti-competitive agreements, the extensive briefing and a recent decision by a federal court to proceed with an almost identical lawsuit,” Melissa Geller, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said in a statement to The edge†
The “nearly identical” lawsuit Geller refers to is a class action complaint that goes after Amazon for similar reasons, alleging that the company pressures sellers to sell products for an equal or lower price than what they offer elsewhere. Earlier this week, Seattle District Judge Richard A. Jones denied part of Amazon’s motion to dismiss the complaint.
Racine’s lawsuit, first filed in May 2021, revolves around the same argument; it claims Amazon’s restrictive policies harm consumers by forcing sellers to raise their prices on Amazon and other online platforms, as sellers must factor in Amazon’s fees when pricing their products. In 2019, Amazon quietly withdrew a clause requiring sellers to list products at the cheapest prices on its Marketplace, but both lawsuits allege the same restrictions now apply to sellers under Amazon’s Fair Pricing Policy.
“We are considering our legal options and will continue to fight to develop reasoned antitrust case law in our local courts and to hold Amazon accountable for using its concentrated power to unfairly tilt the playing field in its favor,” Geller said.