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  • Writer's pictureSarah Brightmann

US Judge Poised to Invalidate Class Action Against Google Play

In a recent development, a US District Judge, James Donato, has signaled a potential shift in the Google Play class action case involving 21 million consumers. These consumers had alleged that Google's app store had violated federal antitrust laws by imposing excessive charges.

The judge's decision, announced on Monday, carries the potential to significantly alter the course of the case and potentially reduce the damages that Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, might be liable for regarding the distribution of Android mobile apps.

The crux of the consumers' argument rested on their assertion that Google's alleged monopoly had resulted in higher costs for apps, restricting their choices. Google has consistently denied these allegations of wrongdoing.

Judge Donato has cited a key reason for his move – the exclusion of an economist's testimony as an expert witness for the consumers. This omission, in his view, removed an "essential element" from the argument put forth by the consumers for their class certification. As a result, he has indicated that his class certification order issued in November 2022 should be reconsidered.

However, the judge has not immediately revoked the class certification due to an ongoing appeal by Google against his November order. Instead, he has directed both Google's legal team and the representatives of the consumers to explore the possibility of resolving this matter before a scheduled hearing on September 7.

It's important to note that this class action involves consumers from a dozen US states and five territories, distinct from another case against Google brought by various state attorneys general. The concept of class actions allows plaintiffs to collectively file a lawsuit, potentially resulting in more substantial compensation at a lower overall cost compared to individual lawsuits.

At the moment, there hasn't been an immediate response from the consumers' legal representatives or Google regarding this recent turn of events.

This legal proceeding forms part of a larger landscape of antitrust litigation, encompassing 38 states and the District of Columbia, as well as companies like Epic Games and Match Group.

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