Peggy Wedgworth Appointed to Leadership Team in Google Antitrust Consumer Class Action
by Brian Eckert
Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman partner and Antitrust Chair, Peggy J. Wedgworth, has been appointed to the steering committee of In re Google Play Consumer Antitrust Litig., 20-CV-05761 (N.D. Cal.), a consolidated class action lawsuit alleging Google antitrust violations.
Milberg filed a class action complaint in October, accusing Google of engaging in anticompetitive behavior through the Google Play Store and seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages on behalf of consumers forced to pay inflated prices for Play Store purchases.
The case was consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. On December 15, Judge James Donato selected attorneys to lead the consumer case, including Milberg’s Wedgworth, who was appointed to a three-member steering committee.
“I’m honored to be part of such an impressive leadership team, and look forward to representing consumers in this significant antitrust litigation,” she told Law360.
Google Has Monopoly Power in the Android App Distribution and Payment Processing Markets
Milberg filed a class action complaint on October 9, alleging that Google maintains an unlawful monopoly by forcing Android users to use the Google Play Store and the Android In-App Payment Processing Market, levying a 30% fee on consumers’ in-app purchases. A consolidated class action complaint was filed on December 28, 2020.
Google Play is Google’s store for the distribution of apps and other digital media. Google’s contracts with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and app developers restrict consumer choice and make it extremely difficult for consumers to download mobile apps outside of the Google Play Store.
Google has monopolized the markets for application distribution for licensable operating systems and application payment processing and distribution. Through its unlawful and anticompetitive acts, Google forecloses Android users from using app distribution platforms other than the Google Play Store and for every in-app purchase, charges consumers a 30% fee. Google eliminates consumer choice, resulting in consumers paying more for applications (including in-app purchases) than they would in a competitive market.
Class Members and Proposed Remedies
The lawsuit names as class members all persons in the United States who paid for an app through the Google Play Store or paid for in-app digital content (including subscriptions) on an app that was offered in the Google Play Store within the relevant statute of limitations. Plaintiffs request injunctive relief to stop Google from engaging in the monopolistic and anticompetitive conduct, as well as monetary damages.
Milberg’s Antitrust and Competition Practice
Milberg and Ms. Wedgworth are national leaders in complex antitrust and competition matters. Milberg has successfully represented plaintiffs in antitrust class actions against some of the world’s largest and most well-funded corporations in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology.
Ms. Wedgworth, managing partner and Chair of Milberg’s Antitrust Department, has litigated high-profile antitrust class actions that resulted in significant settlements, including her current appointment as Interim Lead Counsel in In Re: Dealer Management Systems Antitrust Litig., 18-cv-00864 (N.D. Ill), representing a nationwide class of auto dealership in an action alleging that leading software providers conspired to monopolize access to sales and service data software used by auto dealerships.