SAN MATEO, California (Reuters) – A U.S. judge has thrown out a lawsuit
challenging the fairness of how Web search leader Google Inc. calculates
the popularity of Web sites in determining search results, court papers
In a ruling issued on Friday that came to light on Tuesday, Judge Jeremy
Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
dismissed a lawsuit against Google by parenting information site
The judge also imposed yet-to-be-determined sanctions on KinderStart
legal counsel Gregory Yu for making unsupported allegations against Google.
KinderStart sued Google in March 2006 alleging the Mountain View,
California-based Internet company had defamed the site by cutting it
from its Web search ranking system.
The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company, which features links to
information about raising children, accused Google of violations of
antitrust, free speech, unfair competition and defamation and libel laws.
In its suit, the company argued its site’s sudden demotion in March 2005
to a “zero” ranking in Google’s search system had severely harmed its
KinderStart had sought class action status on behalf of what is said
were many other sites that suffered the same fate as Google fine-tunes
Web site rankings in search results.
“KinderStart had failed to explain how Google caused injury to it by a
provably false statement … as distinguished from an unfavorable
opinion about KinderStart.com’s importance,” the judge’s ruling states.
In addition, the judge said the plaintiff’s counsel should have removed
allegations that Google discriminated against or manipulated its Web
search rankings after the judge ordered the lawyer to do so in an
“While Yu has brought a novel challenge to a major corporation, it is
apparent that to some extent he has overreached in doing so,” Fogel
said. “Yu had a professional responsibility to refrain from filing such
allegations if he did not have appropriate supporting evidence.”
The judge granted Google the right to seek attorneys fees for the costs
of defending against these specific charges. Both sides have 14 days to
file motions before the judge determines monetary damages against Yu.
Yu is with the firm Global Law Group of San Mateo.
“All options are being explored. That’s all that we are going to say at
this point,” he told Reuters, but declined to describe his plans further.
A Google attorney said the company felt vindicated.
“We always felt these claims were unjustified, because courts have
consistently rejected complaints over search engine rankings, so we’re
pleased that Judge Fogel promptly dismissed this case,” Google
litigation counsel Hilary Ware said in a company statement.