March 29 (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google LLC intentionally destroyed employee “chat” evidence in antitrust litigation in California and must pay sanctions and face a possible penalty at trial, a U.S. judge ruled on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco said in his order that Google “fell strikingly short” in its duties to preserve records. The ruling is part of a multidistrict litigation that includes a consumer class action with as many as 21 million residents; 38 states and the District of Columbia; and companies including Epic Games Inc and Match Group LLC.
Advertisement · Scroll to continue
Report an ad
The consumers and other plaintiffs are challenging Google’s alleged monopoly for distributing Android mobile applications, allegations that Google has denied. Plaintiffs have claimed aggregate damages of $4.7 billion.
The judge asked the plaintiffs’ lawyers by April 21 to provide an amount in legal fees they are