Shoppers Move to Compel Discovery Conference, Accuse Amazon of Dragging Heels in Pricing Policy Class Action

Last Thursday, the plaintiffs prosecuting a case against Inc. filed a motion asking the court to compel a Rule 26(f) conference in the anticompetitive pricing policy case. The plaintiffs assert that Amazon is baselessly impeding the case’s progress after most claims survived Amazon’s motion to dismiss in mid-March.

The putative class action contends that Amazon pushes up the price shoppers pay for products simultaneously sold on its platform and other e-commerce sites by barring third-party sellers from offering products at cheaper prices elsewhere. Judge Richard A. Jones found that the plaintiffs successfully stated claims for relief under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act in his decision earlier this month.

After the court permitted the case to proceed, the parties met and conferred. According to last week’s motion, Amazon resisted scheduling an initial discovery conference on the basis that it was “premature.” Subsequently, the company filed a motion for reconsideration or clarification of the court’s dismissal order. Therein, it argued that the court’s ruling was incomplete as to antitrust and indirect purchaser standing.

The plaintiffs claim that the motion for reconsideration provides no basis for delaying the discovery conference. “[A]s Plaintiffs’ counsel pointed out on the call, the local rules expressly provide that motions for reconsideration do not stay discovery,” the motion says. 

For support, the plaintiffs draw on both the Western District of Washington local rules and decisions chiding such gamesmanship. “Amazon’s refusal to participate in a 26(f) conference therefore violates the rules of this Court, and impedes Plaintiffs’ proper prosecution of their claims,” the motion concludes.

The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Keller Lenkner LLC, and Keller Rohrback L.L.P.

Amazon is represented by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.