US Court Dismisses DC Antitrust Lawsuit Against Amazon

( The DC Superior Court has thrown out a federal antitrust lawsuit filed by Karl Racine, the attorney general of the District of Columbia, against Amazon.

Hiram Puig-Lugo, the judge in the case, granted the motion filed by Amazon to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit. The suit accused the e-commerce and tech giant of participating in anti-competitive behavior.

The actions in question revolve around Amazon’s marketplace preventing other sellers on the site from listing their products for lower prices on other sites, and that includes on their company’s own websites.

Reporters from The New York Times reviewed the decision by the judge, but they said he didn’t provide specific reasons why he ruled in favor of Amazon.

Following the decision, a spokesperson for Racine’s office, Melissa Geller, emailed a statement to The Verge that read:

“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 anti-competitive agreements, the extensive briefing and a recent decision of a federal court to allow a nearly identical lawsuit to move forward.”

The suit that Geller was referring to is a class action suit that has been filed against Amazon for “nearly identical” reasons. The suit claims Amazon pressures its third-party sellers to list their products for sale for a lower or equal price than they offer on other sites.

A district judge in Seattle recently denied a portion of a motion Amazon filed that would have dismissed the class action suit.

Racine first filed his suit in May of 2021, and is based around the same argument that the class action lawsuit is.

His suit claims that Amazon has restrictive policies for its third-party sellers, which ultimately harm consumers since they have to pay higher prices for goods.

This happens, according to the suit, as sellers are forced to increase prices for their products on other online platforms as well as Amazon. The reason for this is that sellers have to account for the fees that Amazon charges for listing and selling products on their site, just so they can clear enough profit to make it worth their while.

Amazon retracted a specific clause in 2019 that previously required all sellers to list their products for the cheapest possible price on their website. Both Racine’s lawsuit and the class action suit, though, claim that these restrictions still apply to all sellers under the company’s Fair Pricing Policy.

Racine’s office is currently considering its options after the judge dismissed their lawsuit. It’s possible that they could appeal to a higher court to have the case reconsidered, or pursue other legal options as well.

As Geller commented:

“We are considering our legal options, and we’ll continue fighting to develop reasoned antitrust jurisprudence in our local courts and to hold Amazon accountable for using its concentrated power to unfairly tilt the playing field in its favor.”