A Google signal is pictured throughout the firm’s presentation of an in depth funding plan for Germany exterior the Google workplace in Berlin, Germany, August 31, 2021.
Annegret Hilse | Reuters
Google ought to be sanctioned for failing to protect chat messages between staff associated to an antitrust case introduced by Epic Games, a federal choose in California dominated on Tuesday.
The firm “adopted a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy for keeping messages, at the expense of its preservation duties,” the choose stated within the submitting.
The choose didn’t but decide what sanctions Google ought to face, writing that, “the Court would like to see the state of play of the evidence at the end of fact discovery. At that time, plaintiffs will be better positioned to tell the Court what might have been lost in the Chat communications.”
Google faces comparable allegations about destroying potential proof by the Department of Justice in its antitrust litigation towards the corporate. A Google spokesperson stated on the time of the DOJ’s submitting that it disagrees with the DOJ’s claims.
The newest submitting included a string of messages between Google executives debating whether or not they wanted to maintain chat historical past on points which may relate to the litigation.
Epic alleged that Google didn’t retain chat messages between staff that it ought to have preserved whereas below a litigation maintain. Google allegedly left it to staff to find out when to activate and off their chat historical past when discussing issues related to the authorized proceedings. Epic stated Google ought to have ensured these messages had been preserved by default. Exhibits offered by Epic appear to point out that Google staff noticed chats as a much less formal method to talk.
The choose, James Donato, made clear the case “will not be decided on the basis of lost Chat communications,” however stated deciding on the right non-monetary sanction requires extra proceedings.
Donato ordered Google to cowl affordable attorneys charges associated to the movement over the evidentiary difficulty.
“Our teams have conscientiously worked, for years, to respond to Epic and the state AGs’ discovery
requests and we have produced over three million documents, including thousands of chats,” a Google spokesperson stated in an emailed assertion.
Epic didn’t present a press release for this story.
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