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Amazon Defeats D.C. Attorney General’s Antitrust Suit Over Pricing Policies

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reuters and other major media outlets, Paul, Weiss won the dismissal of a major antitrust lawsuit filed by the D.C. Attorney General challenging Amazon’s pricing policies nationwide. The lawsuit is the first brought by a government entity in the United States challenging Amazon’s pricing policies and business model.

In his lawsuit filed in May 2021 in D.C. Superior Court and amended in September, Attorney General Karl Racine alleged that Amazon’s policies, which are designed to deter third-party sellers from selling products on Amazon at higher prices than those products are sold for elsewhere, are anticompetitive because they allegedly cause sellers to raise prices across the board, and that Amazon also employs anti-competitive agreements with suppliers of the products it sells to consumers directly. The lawsuit claimed violations of the District of Columbia Antitrust Act, which the court interpreted following cases under federal antitrust law. Amazon filed a motion to dismiss in October.

In a same-day oral ruling following oral argument, the court agreed with Paul, Weiss’s arguments, rejecting the District’s claims that the policies created an artificially inflated price floor, holding that the District’s complaint failed to plausibly allege that the policies had anticompetitive effects, and granting Amazon’s motion to dismiss in its entirety. D.C. Superior Court Judge Hiram Puig-Lug noted that the complaint only raises the issue of sellers being penalized for setting a price below a certain level in a general conclusive way, and that the District did not identify any seller this happened to or the timing and circumstances surrounding such a penalty.

The Paul, Weiss team included ligation partners Karen Dunn, William Isaacson (who argued the motion to dismiss), William Michael and Julia Tarver Mason Wood, and counsel Daniel Crane, Martha Goodman, Amy Mauser, and Kyle Smith.

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