DC AG Asks Court To Reconsider Amazon Antitrust Suit

A filing submitted on Thursday by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine asked the state court overseeing his office’s case against Amazon to reconsider the oral decision it issued last month dismissing the suit. According to the motion, the court committed reversible error by misapplying the pleading standard, overlooking facts pleaded in the complaint, and arriving at its own factual conclusions.

The lawsuit, filed 11 months ago, asserts that Amazon controls between 50 and 70% of domestic online sales and maintains a monopoly in the online retail market in violation of the District of Columbia’s Antitrust Act. In particular, the complaint points to several written agreements including a pricing parity policy that Amazon allegedly imposed on third-party sellers which had the effect of creating an artificial price floor for goods sold across e-commerce platforms. 

The case is about “whether the written agreements acknowledged by the Court’s ruling have the potential to or are likely to cause anticompetitive effects,” this week’s motion says, pointing to factual allegations purportedly showing higher prices, less choice for consumers, and insulation of monopoly power. The attorney general argues that “at this stage of the proceeding, the Court is limited to ascertaining whether there is enough factual matter in the Complaint, taken as true, to make it plausible that discovery will ultimately reveal adequate evidence of those anticompetitive effects.”

In support, the motion also points to a recent ruling made by a Seattle, Washington federal court finding that facts “indistinguishable” from the instant ones were sufficient to survive Amazon’s dismissal bid.

Amazon will have a chance to oppose the filing, which, in the alternative, asks that the court allow the plaintiff to file an amended pleading. Amazon is represented byPaul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

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