FTC Receives More Time to Amend Complaint in Facebook Antitrust Action

Last Friday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requested and was granted an extension, moving the deadline for it to file an amended complaint from July 29 to August 19 after its initial complaint was dismissed in late June. The FTC stated that its request was unopposed pursuant to several conditions agreed to by Facebook Inc, the defendant.

In last month’s decision, Judge James E. Boasberg found that the FTC fell short of proving essential elements of its monopoly claim. Among other things, the ruling determined that the commission failed to adequately define the relevant market and Facebook’s share thereof.

In other words, the FTC did not establish that the company has monopoly power. “Because this defect could conceivably be overcome by re-pleading, however, the Court will dismiss only the Complaint, not the case, and will do so without prejudice to allow Plaintiff to file an amended Complaint,” the opinion said, though its companion ruling dismissed the state plaintiffs’ parallel claims in their entirety.

In last week’s motion, the FTC first noted that the parties agreed to a schedule regarding Facebook’s response to its amended pleading, concluding on Dec. 1, 2021. In addition, Facebook reserved the right to challenge the adequacy, legality, and appropriateness of any proposed amendment.

In support of its argument for good cause, the FTC contended that the extension “will provide sufficient time for Plaintiff to complete internal agency processes with respect to filing an amended complaint.” In addition, an extension would be compatible with an expeditious and inexpensive resolution and would neither prejudice the defendant nor any third parties, the commission said.

In a July 23 minute order available on the case docket, the court acquiesced and adopted the parties’ proposed schedule.