Amazon Files Second Motion To Dismiss Third-Party Seller Pricing Suit

Amazon has filed a second motion to dismiss a Western District of Washington case that alleges its third-party seller policies are anticompetitive insofar as they create an artificial price floor for goods sold simultaneously on its platform and other online outlets. Monday’s motion, primarily targeting the plaintiffs’ standing, comes as Amazon’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s March dismissal order pends.

The 2020 suit alleges that Amazon’s policies prevent price competition for goods sold across platforms like eBay or Walmart.com by restraining sellers from offering lower prices for their goods on sites other than Amazon. Reportedly, Amazon enforces the policy by monitoring prices and threatening to punish sellers who fail to conform.

The complaint states antitrust causes of action on behalf of a proposed class of anyone who purchased one or more of an estimated 340 million supra competitively priced consumer products offered for sale by an Amazon third-party seller and purchased through a retail e-commerce channel other than Amazon Marketplace.
In the court’s March ruling on Amazon’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s first amended complaint, it found in relevant part that the plaintiffs have antitrust standing to pursue their claims as direct purchasers in conjunction with the theory that third-party sellers are co-conspirators, even if unwittingly so.

Amazon moved for reconsideration of the decision, arguing that it suffered multiple flaws. The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint, and now, Amazon seeks not to “reargue points the Court decided,” but to dismiss on the basis that the plaintiffs lack standing for their antitrust claims on previously undecided bases.

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