Judge Assigns November Deadlines In DOJ Lawsuit Against Google

U.S. Judge Amit Mehta set a series of November deadlines in the antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) against Alphabet’s Google, Reuters reported on Friday (Oct. 30). 

The suit, filed Oct. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the search giant used its dominant position to stifle competition. Google has until Nov. 13 to let the court know how it plans to respond to the lawsuit. Initial disclosures about evidence and witnesses are due from both parties by Nov. 20.

In a status conference Friday, attorney John Schmidtlein, who will be leading the defense for Google, agreed to tell the the district court by Nov. 13 whether Google will request a dismissal on summary judgement. Schmidtlein is an antitrust litigator at the Washington law firm Williams & Connolly. 

The judge also requested that both sides file a status report on a protective order no later than Nov. 6. A protective order generally is intended to protect third parties who offer up evidence for the government.

The next status conference was set for Nov. 18, Reuters said.

An Obama appointee, Mehta was sworn in in 2015 and had previously been a lawyer for the D.C. law firm, Zuckerman Spaeder. His focus was on criminal defense and business disputes, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal.

He presided over an antitrust case his first year on the bench in a Federal Trade Commission case seeking to block a proposed merger of Sysco Corp. and US Foods, two of the country’s biggest food distributors.

Google issued a public response to the lawsuit when it was first filed, calling it “deeply flawed” and saying people aren’t forced to use the search engine.

Big Tech has been under fire across the globe, with lawsuits and investigations underway in Europe and Japan. In an interview with PYMNTS on Tuesday (Oct. 27), i2c President Jim McCarthy said he doesn’t know if anyone is benefiting.

“The digital landscape has shifted things so dramatically, and we’ve always talked about the fact that technology runs way ahead of regulatory constraints,” McCarthy said.