In context: It’s no secret that FTC Chair Lena Khan doesn’t like Amazon. Her tutorial article “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” makes it abundantly clear that she views the corporate as a monopoly or, on the very least, a possible antitrust fiasco. Amazon has taken difficulty over her stance on a number of events. Its newest authorized wrangling says her serving of CIDs to executives and requires particular person hearings are nothing however “burdensome harassment” within the FTC’s broad-scoped “open-ended” investigation into Amazon Prime.
This week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an August 5 submitting by Amazon that appears to excuse former CEO Jeff Bezos and present CEO Andy Jassy from supplying testimony in an investigation. The authorized workforce calls the probe “burdensome” and says that the civil investigative calls for (CIDs) served to Bezos and Jassy have been meant to harass the executives.
The movement seeks to quash or restrict the “Individual CIDs.” Amazon feels that holding particular person hearings (IHs) for every govt is pointless and wouldn’t be conducive to the invention course of. The legal professionals contend that Bezos and Jassy don’t have any “distinctive information” of the issues at hand. That is to say that the FTC would get no helpful data from them that it couldn’t collect from different personnel or departments at Amazon.
Furthermore, Amazon counsel feels that the CID’s “open-ended” checklist of questions falls nicely outdoors the probe’s scope.
“Staff’s demand that Mr. Bezos and Mr. Jassy testify at an IH (particular person listening to) on an open-ended checklist of matters on which they don’t have any distinctive information is grossly unreasonable, unduly burdensome, and calculated to serve no different objective than to harass Amazon’s highest-ranking executives and disrupt its enterprise operations,” the submitting reads.
The doc doesn’t go into specifics, however Bloomberg notes that the investigation began again in March 2021 when the FTC started wanting into the enrollment and cancelation processes for Amazon Prime. Then in June 2022, it expanded the probe to incorporate 5 unrelated subscription providers, one in all which is operated by a third-party supplier however is facilitated by way of Amazon.
“The June 2022 CID is unworkable and unfair, reflecting much less of a accountable effort to gather the details about quite a lot of longstanding and extremely standard subscription applications than a one-sided effort to power Amazon to satisfy impossible-to-satisfy calls for,” the legal professionals stated. “The June 2022 CID ‘goes past Prime sign-up and cancellation to comb in at the very least 5 further subscription applications, every with their very own distinctive details, historical past, and personnel.”
The broad scope and complexity of the inquiries led the authorized workforce to conclude that no witnesses could possibly be fairly ready to assist in the invention course of in particular person hearings. Thus, the FTC’s CIDs solely quantity to the harassment of workers.
Whether the movement to quash will likely be granted stays to be seen. These challenges are routine in conditions like this and infrequently solely purchase the defendant extra time to organize.
Last 12 months, Amazon filed a movement demanding that newly appointed FTC Chair Lina Khan recuse herself from any proceedings in opposition to Amazon on the grounds that she is biased and seeks to interrupt up the corporate she views as a monopoly by any means. That petition was denied.