Supreme Court Allows Google Adwords Class Action to Proceed

Plenty of consumers who use Google to look up information have long been complaining about the company selling their information to advertisers, but now it’s the advertisers who are complaining about Google’s practices.

In this case, the advertisers whose internet ads were placed via Google’s Adwords program, have filed a class action lawsuit alleging the tech giant deceived them about the placement of their ads. According to the lawsuit, the objective of the Adwords service is to place ads alongside relevant internet searches. For example, if someone looks up exercise tips, Google might place ads for local gyms and/or personal trainers alongside the search results.

Instead, the lawsuit alleges ads appeared on error pages and undeveloped websites, which are also known as parked domains. This type of placement does nothing to help the advertisers because only a few, if any, people will see their ads. In fact, such a placement can even hurt the advertiser if a frustrated consumer accidentally finds themselves on an error page or an undeveloped website and they associate the advertiser with a failure to maintain that website/webpage.

Companies pay to have Google post their internet ads in places where they’ll be seen by their target audiences, so if Google is instead placing these ads on unused websites and webpages, then the advertiser has paid for a service that doesn’t benefit them at all and may even harm them.

The class action lawsuit was originally filed in 2008 and alleged Google violated California’s fair advertising laws. A California federal district judge refused to certify the class of plaintiffs, saying they did not qualify for class action status because each advertiser would have paid a different sum for their ad placement, which means they would each receive different damages.

Ever since the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision regarding claims brought against Wal-Mart by a class of employees, many judges throughout the country have refused to certify class actions if the amounts of each individual class members’ claims are not identical. This is despite the fact that the law does not require the amount of the class members’ claims to be identical, so long as the nature of their allegations against the defendant are similar enough to try all their cases together.

The advertisers appealed the district court’s decision and the appellate court sided with them. Google responded by asking the Supreme Court to hear their case, but the Supreme Court refused, letting the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stand. This means the advertisers will be able to move forward with their allegations against Google as a class action.

The highest court in the country has been in a bit of a tight spot ever since Justice Antonin Scalia died. Scalia authored the decision against Wal-Mart’s employees and acted as a strong proponent for curbing class action litigation in recent years. The Supreme Court has refused to hear many cases on a variety of matters since they lost one of their justices. The even number of eight justices creates the possibility of a tie, which would complicate and severely hinder the legal process.

Our firm is looking for consumers interesting in filing suit who were duped into purchasing Parmesan or Romano cheese with wood pulp in it or adulterated olive oil and have proof of purchase and/or still have the product.  We are also looking for consumers who have been duped into purchasing any type of adulterated food product.

Our Naperville, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action gift card, data breach, privacy rights, deceptive advertising, predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totalling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocatesthe National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.

Our Lombard and Elmhurst consumer attorneys provide assistance in data breach, privacy violation, fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can click here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases our Chicago consumer lawyers have handled. A video of our lawsuit which helped ensure more fan friendly security at Wrigley Field can be found here. You can contact one of our Wheaton and Waukegan consumer protection, gift card and data breach attorneys who can assist in consumer fraud, consumer rip-off, lemon law, unfair debt collection, predatory lending, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog or by clicking here.  You can also call our toll free number at 630-333-0333.

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