On Monday, September 14, ILSR’s legal fellow Shaoul Sussman testified before the New York State Assembly, in support of new state legislation, the Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act. The legislation would strengthen the ability of the state Attorney General and private plaintiffs to bring lawsuits against monopolists for abusive dominance. Sussman was joined at the state hearing by ILSR allies Matt Stoller, Tim Wu, Sally Hubbard, and Harry First, who all testified in support of the bill.
In his testimony, Sussman noted that the bill would create a lower threshold for identifying abusive monopoly power in court, by broadening the scope of conduct that is considered anti-competitive by law. One example cited by Sussman is Amazon’s egregious fees on third-party sellers for its logistics services. While Amazon is clearly guilty of leveraging its power as a retailer to cement its dominance in logistics and charge extractive fees on sellers, courts in the US don’t consider this conduct proof of illegal monopolistic activity. This bill would change that.
One other important aspect of Sussman’s testimony was his emphasis on the bill’s historic nature. As Sussman’s testimony states, “New York has a long and illustrious history of combating monopolies and curbing corporate power. And up until the 20th century, states like New York were at the frontlines of this battle. New York’s first anti-monopoly laws, passed more than two-hundred years ago, were structural and proactive.”
You can stream the whole hearing at this link. Shaoul Sussman’s testimony begins at the 2:43:38 mark.
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