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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Google Click Fraud Lawsuit Lawyer Interview: Shawn Khorrami

Q.) What is the difference between a class action lawsuit and a lawsuit an Google AdWords advertiser would file on their own?

A.) In general, a class action lawsuit is brought by a limited number of plaintiffs representing the entire class of plaintiffs who are similarly situated as them. All of the individuals who have been damaged do not appear on the lawsuit as plaintiffs. In a settlement class, such as the one which Google is attempting to enter into, the case is settled on behalf of the entire class. This means that everyone who fits the definition of a class member -- whether aware or unaware of the pendency of the lawsuit or the settlement -- is included and forever releases the defendant of any liability. In the case of the Google settlement, each class member has a very limited time to make a claim -- 60 days. If they do not, they will forever lose their right to make a claim. Once their claim is accepted, they will receive about 0.5% of the money which they are owed -- meaning that if it is accepted that they were ripped off for, let's say, $10,000, they will receive a coupon for a discount on future advertisement with Google for $50. In the type of case that we're filing, each claimant is separately represented and has a separate claim. The only way that the claim can be settled is by that claimant's consent. This means that if a claimant does not want to receive a $50 coupon for the claimant's $10,000 loss, it can choose to press forward with the claim. In the Google settlement, the reverse occurs: If Google chooses to accept that the claimant has been damaged to the tune of $10,000, it will issue a coupon to that claimant for $50. The only choice the claimant has is not to use the coupon -- the claim, however, is over and the claimant is stripped of any choice or the Constitutional right to petition the courts.

Q.) Can advertisers in the class action lawsuit also file a lawsuit of their own?

A.) Yes. However, there is a crucially important issue: They MUST opt out of the class settlement. If they do not opt out of the class settlement, they will lose their right to file a lawsuit.

Q.) Have you been involved in any lawsuits with Google before or currently?

A.) Yes.

Q.) Is there a statute of limitations on AdWords claims?

A.) There is a statute of limitations. Under the contract with Google, the only place that Google can be sued without its consent is in California. Under California law, there are two statute of limitations periods:
(1) there is a 3 year statute of limitations for bringing a contract claim; and
(2) there is a 4 year statute of limitations period for bringing a fraud or an illegal business practices claim.

Therefore, if advertisers wish to sue under a breach of contract theory, they must bring a lawsuit within 3 years of the time the breach in question occurred. In these types of cases, the alleged breach occurs on a daily basis so long as the advertising is running. So, an advertiser can sue for all losses dating back 3 years from the date of the filing of the lawsuit if suing under a breach of contract theory and 4 years under a fraud or an illegal business practices theory. Keep in mind that there are different requirements for each of these 3 types of claims and they have different limitations in terms of the types of damages that can be recovered.

Q.) What are the most important pieces of data do used to get an AdWords click fraud claim won?

A.) Jason, this is a question I cannot go into too much detail on because, among other things, some of the info is proprietary -- our experts' not mine, and the more detailed I get, the higher the chance that I may say something incorrectly by mistake.

Q.) Is it even reasonable for an AdWords advertiser (that files their own click fraud lawsuit) to expect a material cash refund for their click fraud claim?

A.) Absolutely. In fact, that is what we are seeking on behalf of our clients.

By Jason Dowdell at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

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