Technology

DOJ urges court to reconsider dismissal of DC’s Amazon antitrust case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is urging a Washington, D.C., superior court to reconsider its decision to dismiss an antitrust case against Amazon brought by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D).

“If left uncorrected, the Court’s ruling could jeopardize the enforcement of antitrust law by improperly raising the bar on plaintiffs challenging anticompetitive contractual restraints in the District of Columbia,” the DOJ attorneys wrote in a Thursday filing in support of Racine’s push for the court to reconsider its March dismissal.

The lawsuit alleges that Amazon has used anti-competitive practices by keeping third-party sellers from offering lower prices for products elsewhere.

Racine filed a motion earlier this month asking the court to reconsider the lawsuit. 

Amazon filed an opposition motion Thursday to D.C.’s request for the case to be reconsidered. 

“The Court was correct when it dismissed the Amended Complaint for failure to allege facts showing that Amazon’s policies have anticompetitive effects. The District’s motion for reconsideration should be denied because the District fails to show the ‘manifest error’ required to justify the extraordinary relief that it seeks,” the motion states. 

An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A company spokesperson previously denied the lawsuit’s allegations in a statement when the case was filed last year. 

“Sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store,” the spokesperson said at the time. “Amazon takes pride in the fact that we offer low prices across the broadest selection, and like any store we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers that are not priced competitively.”

The DOJ has also been taking a more public step in supporting key antitrust reform bills. 

The department sent letters to lawmakers on the House and Senate Judiciary committees last month endorsing an antitrust proposal that aims to block tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own products.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Wednesday told a Senate panel her department also supports the American Online Innovation and Choice Act.

Updated April 29 at 10:51 a.m.

Tags Amazon antitrust Gina Raimondo Karl Racine

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