Law 360: “Judge Slams Google’s ‘Deeply Troubling’ Tactics As Trial Ends”

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Hannah Albarazi reported that Judge Slams Google’s ‘Deeply Troubling’ Tactics As Trial Ends – Law360 (Dec. 1, 2023).  The Law 360 article states:

The company intentionally destroyed relevant evidence, failed to preserve internal chat evidence, and appears to have widely instructed its employees to label documents “privileged and confidential” when they should not have been, U.S. District Judge James Donato said.

“I have never seen anything so egregious,” he said after Google rested its defense and the jury had filed out of his San Francisco courtroom.

The judge said Google’s “willful and intentional suppression of relevant evidence in this case is deeply troubling to me as an officer of the court.”

He said he saw “disturbing evidence” that Google had made fake privilege claims, and he said its conduct was “the most disturbing” evidence issue he’s seen in his decade on the bench.

“My concern is that this is a frontal assault on the fair administration of justice,” Judge Donato said. He added that he’s concerned that Google’s conduct “undercuts due process” and is “antithetical” to the justice system.

Ms. Albarazi wrote: “Epic, the creator of the popular online game Fortnite, accuses Google of obstructing competition for applications on Android devices and forcing developers to pay hefty fees for in-app purchases on Google Play. It also says Google violated the federal Sherman Act by entering into agreements to dissuade major app developers from opening app stores that would compete with Google Play.”

She explained:

Judge Donato also pointed to testimony from Google vice president of product management Paul N. Gennai, who said on Thursday that he labeled his personal business notes as “privileged and confidential.” The judge said he saw no reason for a Google employee’s notes to be labeled as such, given that his notes were not subject to attorney-client privileges.

Judge Donato said he would get to the bottom of who inside Google and who in the company’s outside counsel is “responsible for the suppressed evidence.”

“That day is coming,” he said.

Google did not respond to a request for comment Friday. A spokesperson for Epic declined to comment.

The excellent Law 360 article is worth reading.