Court Relates Several Facebook Antitrust Suits

On Tuesday, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California issued an order relating several antitrust lawsuits filed against Facebook that alleged that Facebook monopolized the social network and social media markets or the social data and social advertising markets, respectively.

Specifically, Judge Koh related Sherman v. Facebook, Inc.; Kupcho v. Facebook, Inc.; Dames et al. v. Facebook, Inc.; Steinberg v. Facebook, Inc.; Layser v. Facebook, Inc.; Rosenman v. Facebook, Inc.; and Affilious, Inc. et al v. Facebook, Inc. to the instant action, Klein et al. v. Facebook, Inc. All of the lawsuits, except Affilious, are about antitrust violations against consumers in the social network and social media markets; meanwhile, Affilious revolves around antitrust violations against advertisers and app developers. However, the lawsuits are purportedly similar in terms of claims, relevant markets, and putative classes and were therefore related. The court consolidated all of these class-actions and sets new deadlines for the consolidated cases, including for appointing interim lead plaintiffs’ counsel, an initial case management conference, and filing a consolidated class action complaint.

This relation and consolidation comes after the Klein plaintiffs sought to relate seven cases against Facebook into two categories: consumers in one category, and app developers and advertisers in another. Facebook opposed the motion, arguing that the plaintiffs’ suit should be related to app developer Reveal Chat Co.’s suit because the allegations are similar. Meanwhile, the judge in the Reveal Chat lawsuit determined that the different Facebook antitrust lawsuits should not be related to the Reveal Chat lawsuit. After which, Judge Koh in the instant action has ruled to relate the consumer cases.