FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London, Britain January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo
December 16, 2020
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Texas attorney general’s office has named The Lanier Law Firm and the law firm Keller Lenkner to the litigation team that would face off against Alphabet’s Google in an expected antitrust lawsuit, the office said on Tuesday.
Texas, backed by other states, has long been expected to follow the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Google but unrelated allegations against Attorney General Ken Paxton of bribery and abuse of office led to the departure of several lawyers who were key to the Google investigation.
With the new hires, the Texas lawsuit could come as early as this month, according to a source familiar with the office’s planning.
Paxton’s office said in a statement that it had notified members of the state legislature that the attorney general’s office intended to enter into contracts with the two law firms “to aid the State of Texas should it seek to file an antitrust claim against Google.”
The Lanier Law firm, including founder Mark Lanier, is based in Houston, Los Angeles and New York and its practice areas include product liability and business litigation, according to its website.
The law firm Keller Lenkner’s website touts its work in complex litigation.
The federal lawsuit filed in October argued that Google built a great search engine but then fended off competition through exclusive deals with Apple and others. It also alleged that Google abused its dominance in search advertising. Texas signed on to that lawsuit.
Colorado, New York and another group of states are also expected to file a lawsuit against Google. Those state attorneys general hope to consolidate their complaint with the federal lawsuit, they said in a statement in October.
The Texas led group has been focusing on Google’s ad-tech dominance prompted by complaints by publishers and other businesses whose publications rely on advertising revenue to survive.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Stephen Coates)