New Jersey Joins Nationwide Lawsuit Against Amazon for Alleged Monopoly Practices
New Jersey has teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 16 other states in filing a lawsuit against online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. The lawsuit, announced by Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin on Friday, alleges that Amazon is unlawfully maintaining its monopoly power through a series of anticompetitive and exclusionary tactics.
Who: The State of New Jersey, led by Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, along with the FTC and 16 other state attorneys general.
What: The lawsuit alleges that Amazon's anticompetitive actions have prevented rivals from fairly competing against it, thereby stifling innovation and overcharging both sellers and shoppers.
When: The announcement was made on Friday, and the lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Where: The legal action impacts residents and businesses in New Jersey as well as other states involved in the suit.
“Through conduct that illegally enables it to dominate the online retail market, Amazon harms New Jersey residents and businesses by stifling competition and limiting consumer choice,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Our complaint seeks to promote fair competition, encourage innovation, and force Amazon to relinquish its monopoly. It’s time to break free from their digital stranglehold and create a level playing field.”
According to the lawsuit, Amazon has enacted anti-discounting measures and required sellers to use its costly fulfillment services, among other tactics, to maintain its market dominance. The state argues that these actions degrade the quality of service and inflate prices across the board.
FTC Chair Lina M. Khan elaborated, “The complaint sets forth detailed allegations noting how Amazon is now exploiting its monopoly power to enrich itself while raising prices and degrading service for the tens of millions of American families who shop on its platform and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon to reach them.”
The lawsuit also addresses Amazon's behavior in two key online markets—the superstore market that serves shoppers and the marketplace services purchased by sellers. Among the conduct cited are biased search results, costly seller fees, and the suppression of competitors through unfair practices.
New Jersey and its partners are seeking a permanent injunction to prohibit Amazon from engaging in its alleged unlawful conduct and to restore competition in the affected markets.
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin have also joined the FTC's lawsuit.
The case for New Jersey is being represented by Deputy Attorneys General Ana Semoun Atta-Alla, Andrew Esoldi, Yale Leber, Leslie Prentice, and Bryan Sanchez, supervised by Assistant Section Chief Isabella R. Pitt, Assistant Attorney General Brian F. McDonough, and Deputy Director Jason W. Rockwell.
By pursuing this legal action, the State of New Jersey aims to protect its residents from anticompetitive practices that drive up costs and limit choice, thereby affecting the local economy and the well-being of its people.