Google’s Brin and Pichai Ordered to Testify in Digital Ad Antitrust Lawsuit


Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Co-Founder Sergey Brin will be deposed in a lawsuit filed by Texas and other states against the company’s parent, Alphabet. The lawsuit alleges that Alphabet abused its dominance in the digital advertising market, according to a U.S. judge’s ruling. U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan in Sherman, Texas, ruled on Friday that both the co-founder and CEO cannot avoid being deposed in this antitrust case. Judge Jordan stated that the states “have identified issues related to significant corporate acquisitions, meetings, and policies relevant to the issues in this case.”

The lawsuit claims that Texas and other states in the country contend that Google has unlawfully monopolized crucial aspects of the digital advertising market. This, they argue, has led to artificially inflated prices for other users. The states have also accused Google of deceptive trade practices. Both the Texas attorney general and Google’s office declined to comment on the matter on Monday. Sources reveal that Google had initially objected to the depositions proposed in the lawsuit. The company argued that Pichai and Brin, now a member of the tech giant’s board, possess no new, relevant, or unique personal information that could be shared in the state’s lawsuit. The company has denied the claims made by Texas and other states in the lawsuit filed against Google. The company’s bid to dismiss another lawsuit filed in 2020 is also pending.

Texas and the 15 other state plaintiffs involved in the digital advertising lawsuit against Google have stated that they intend to question Brin about the company’s acquisition of DoubleClick in 2008. The states have labeled this acquisition “the leading provider of the ad server tools” that others, including media publishers, use to sell display advertising inventory. Additionally, they plan to ask Pichai about a deal related to the advertising market that the company also made with Facebook, the largest social media platform, in 2008. The plaintiffs also intend to scrutinize Google’s internal communication retention policies. This comes after earlier concerns regarding potential missing evidence surfaced. The states argued that any burden that the depositions would place on Brin and Pichai “is entirely proportional to the stakes of this litigation.”

The upcoming trial is scheduled for March 2025. Reuters reports the case as State of Texas et al v. Google LLC, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, No. 4:20-cv-00957-SDJ. Representing the plaintiffs are W. Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm and Ashley Keller of Keller Postman. The defendant is represented by R. Paul Yetter of Yetter Coleman, Eric Mahr of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Daniel Bitton of Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider.

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Daniel Martin

Source :Daniel Martin