Judge Throws Out Defamation Suit Against Google

KinderStart sued Google Incorporated in March 2006 accusing the Mountain View, California-based company of violations of antitrust, free speech, unfair competition and defamation and libel laws. In a ruling issued Friday, Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuit against Google that claimed the search giant had defamed the site by cutting it from its Web search ranking system. The judge also imposed yet-to-be-determined sanctions on KinderStart legal counsel Gregory Yu for making unsupported allegations against Google.

The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company, which features links to information about raising children, argued its site's sudden demotion in March 2005 to a "zero" ranking in Google's search system had severely harmed its business. KinderStart had sought class action status on behalf of what is said were many other sites that suffered the same fate as Google fine-tunes Web site rankings in search results. "KinderStart had failed to explain how Google caused injury to it by a provably false statement ... as distinguished from an unfavorable opinion about KinderStart.com's importance," the judge's ruling states. The judge granted Google the right to seek attorneys fees for the costs of defending against these specific charges. Both sides have 14 days to file motions before the judge determines monetary damages against Yu.

News source: InformationWeek

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