Class action certified in Google antitrust lawsuit
On November 28, 2022, a California federal judge certified a class action of more than twenty-one million consumer plaintiffs in an antitrust suit against the Google Play Store. District Judge James Donato of the District Court for the Northern District of California granted the consumer plaintiffs’ motion for class certification after determining they satisfied the requirements under Rule 23(a) and (b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
This case traces back to August 2020, when Epic Games Inc. filed suit against Google, alleging that its charging practices for in-app purchases violate antitrust laws. Following this suit, Mary Carr, a consumer from Illinois, and a coalition of state attorneys general, filed a proposed consumer class action on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. The cases were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation for centralized proceedings before Judge Donato.
Through their consolidated second amended class action complaint, the consumer plaintiffs alleged, “Google has willfully and unlawfully maintained its monopoly in the Android Application Distribution Market through a series of related anticompetitive acts designed to foreclose alternative and competing Android app distribution channels.” In opposition to the class certification, Google argued that the consumer plaintiffs failed to show how they were harmed. Consumer plaintiffs presented to the court an economics expert who estimated how much injury they suffered as a result of Google’s actions and Google filed a motion to exclude this expert testimony. Judge Donato denied the motion finding that, “Google has not demonstrated that unreliability or invalidity warrant exclusion of [consumer plaintiffs’ expert’s] opinions.” With consumer plaintiffs’ class action being certified, the litigation can proceed, and a trial date is currently set for some time in May 2023.