You Still Can't Sue Google If You Don't Like Your Rankings… Especially If You Can't Back Up Most Of The Charges

from the now-pay-up-the-legal-fees dept

Last year, we noted the latest in a long string of lawsuits from companies who were suing Google because they didn’t like how Google ranked their sites in search results. The arguments were weak from the beginning and none of the cases have gone very far, so it’s no surprise to see that in this latest case, filed by a company called KinderStart, the judge hasn’t just tossed out the suit, but called it frivolous and demanded that KinderStart pay Google’s legal fees. The judge then goes on to berate KinderStart’s lawyer for the charges he filed. On one set of charges, the judge noted: “they are factually baseless and because (KinderStart attorney Gregory) Yu failed to perform an adequate investigation before filing them.” On another: “Yu had a professional responsibility to refrain from filing such allegations if he did not have appropriate supporting evidence.” It sounds like a case where the company (and its lawyer) just tossed up any charge they could think of hoping that either something would stick or Google would just fold and settle. However, the basic fact remains: Google is a private company and can rank your site however they feel is appropriate. If your ranking sucks (or if Google removes your site because it felt you were spamming) that may not be good for you, but it’s certainly not illegal.


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Comments on “You Still Can't Sue Google If You Don't Like Your Rankings… Especially If You Can't Back Up Most Of The Charges”

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16 Comments
The Only Adult in the House says:

Silly Children

Based on the linked report, it is impossible to judge the validity of the filed lawsuit.

I can understand why KinderStart might allege anti-competitiveness. KinderStart is, afterall, a search portal for children. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Google would manipulate its ratings to downgrade a competitor.

On the other hand, this lawsuit might have been baseless, but merely a publicity stunt by KinderStart.

There are lots of possibilities here. The spin given on this blog is unsupported by the evidence. The blog entry should be thrown out and the blogger required to pay browsing fees.

PT says:

New law?

It would be nice if a new federal law for civil suits is passed that basically says, if anyone is going to sue, they damn better make sure their case is top notch, has the supporting evidence, and practically guarantees a win. Because if a plaintiff files and loses, they MUST pay legal fees of the defendant. Goodbye, frivolous lawsuits.

Then its going to really be about the best of the best lawyers out there. Sure, they’ll cost a whole lot more, but at least we can acknowledged that they are the best at being a weasel (or savior against oppressive business practices and bullies?)

It would be interesting to watch how many lawsuits stop being filed and how many lawyers start seeking other professions. Maybe we’ll just see more paralegals to help people with day to day law related items instead of full fledge lawyers.

Of course, this is probably only possible in a dream world…

Ted says:

Put Brain In Gear Guys- KinderStart Does Not Have

I’ll try to keep this short for you googlephiles-

The case was not thrown out for being frivolous, and no fines were filed against KinderStart.

The quote above was taken from a rule 11 motion directed at one of KinderStart’s Attorneys. NOT FROM THE RULING ON THE CASE

Google did try to get KinderStart to pay it’s fees- and filed an “Anti-Slapp” motion claiming KinderStart’s lawsuit was frivolous- but the Judge threw that out.

Google has to pay it’s own lawyers- not KinderStart

One KinderStart Lawyer might have to pay a Google Lawyer, as the Judge felt a claim he made (one out of many) could not be backed up-

The claim was that Google takes cash for search results- the judge or whomever wrote the rule 11 results did not feel the lawyer (YU) had enough evidence.

Personally I don’t think we’ve seen or heard the end of this case.

One interesting note- is that i large letter on the front page of the ruling it says

“NOT FOR CITATION”

hummm

meaning this case can not be used in court and is not precedent- i

Maybe one of the Google Lawyers can tell us why the Judge wrote that?

Check out this article

Is Google Evil?

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/11/google.html

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