Judge sets November deadline for Google’s initial response to US antitrust case

Platform Industry: Google search engine

Google must tell a district court the way it will react to a national antitrust lawsuit by mid-November, together with the two sides making first disclosures after in the month, US Judge Amit Mehta has said.

The US Justice Department sued Google on October the 20th, accusing the $1 trillion business of illegally using its market muscle to hobble competitions in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in years.

The federal government alleges that Google acted to maintain its position in search in addition to search advertising. Google has denied any wrongdoing.

At a standing conference on Friday, John Schmidtlein, that symbolizes Google, consented to tell the US District Court for the District of Columbia by November the 13th in the event the search and advertising giant intended to ask for the case to be thrown out on summary judgment.

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Following a little sparring between attorneys for the government and Google, Judge Mehta said the two sides must make initial disclosures about possible witnesses and evidence that might be used in trial by November the 20th.

The judge asked the two sides to produce by November the 6th a status report on a protective order, which could protect third parties such as Google customers who provide evidence for the authorities.

The next status conference was set for November the 18th.

The judge, who was randomly selected, also disclosed personal links to Google, such as a cousin who worked for the company along with a friend who had been an executive there.

Mehta said he didn’t know his cousin’s role at Google. “I will confess to you I don’t know what he does,” the judge said.

Google declined to confirm the cousin’s identity or define his role.

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Antitrust experts have said Mehta, who had been nominated to the Washington court by President Barack Obama, was a fantastic choice for the government since he’s not seen as pro-business.

Judges’ familial connections sometimes are challenged by parties in a lawsuit when seeking a different judge.

US law requires a judge disqualify “himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” The law cites situations such as where “a person within the third degree of relationship” to the judge or the judge’s spouse is an officer or director of the company, a potential material witness or someone who could be “substantially affected” by the case.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson in Washington and Paresh Dave in Oakland, California. Editing by Diane Craft and Tom Brown.

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