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Google fined $971k for litigation misconduct in privacy suit

The sanction was imposed after the tech giant failed to disclose key pieces of evidence pertinent to the case

An order issued by a US judge on Friday mandates Google to pay over $971,000 in legal fees and costs as part of litigation misconduct in a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California.

“The plaintiffs' lawyers at Boies Schiller Flexner and other firms had sought more than $1 million in fees and costs, after US Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen in San Jose, California, a federal court in May found Google had failed to timely disclose some pieces of evidence,” reported Reuters

Back in 2020, Google was hit with a $5 billion privacy lawsuit over allegations of tracking users' data while in private or incognito mode. The penalty resulted from Google's "failure to timely identify witnesses, additional documents and data sources relevant to this litigation," Judge Keulen stated in a previous order. Nevertheless, Google has denied the allegation. 

Per billing reports submitted in the case, Boies Schiller Flexner founder David Boies’ hourly rate accounts for $1,950. Altogether, he sought compensation for 49 hours, or about $96,000.

Google's lawyers at Quinn Emanuel argued the plaintiffs had not offered a "justification for their decision to have David Boies get up to speed to argue the complex issues in the sanctions motion."

Andrew Schapiro, one of Google’s lawyers, said in a statement that the plaintiffs "were seeking extreme sanctions and, at the end of the day, they are getting a partial payment of their inflated bill for the time they devoted to bringing the motion."

As matters stand, a hearing is set for September for the Brown v Google case.

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