Google to Face Class Action Against 21 Million Users on the Google Play Store
A US judge in California on Monday allowed a lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google to proceed as a consumer class action for 21 million people who accuse the company of violating US anti-competition laws in the way it manages its Google Play app store.
US District Judge James Donato said in a 27-page order that the plaintiffs had established the legal elements of “generality” and other elements to make a class action alleging anti-competitive business practices.
The class members are consumers of the Google Play Store in 12 states, including Ohio, Michigan and Georgia, in addition to American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The case is among the pending antitrust actions against Google, and federal prosecutors in more than a dozen other states filed similar claims against Google last year. Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the newly confirmed class action are working closely with those federal officials.
Across the country, the plaintiffs have identified aggregate damages of $4.7 billion (roughly Rs. 38,400 crore).
Google has defended the Play Store’s business practices, denying the claims in the lawsuit before Donato and others.
A Google spokesperson said on Monday: “We are reviewing the decision, and after that, we will evaluate our options.”
The company’s lawyers at the American law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius on Monday did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
In opposing class action certification, Google’s lawyers said the plaintiffs failed to show how they were harmed, an argument Donato rejected.
Lead class attorney for the plaintiffs’ firm Bartlit Beck declined to comment.
Class lawyers said that among other things Google prevented app developers from targeting competitors’ customers and used “misleading warnings to dissuade customers from downloading apps outside of the Google Play Store.”
They say “but for Google’s anticompetitive conduct, plaintiffs and class members would have paid lower prices for apps and in-app purchases and would have benefited from expanded choice.”
The trial is scheduled to begin in June 2023.
© Thomson Reuters 2022