Trials & Litigation

Google gamed attorney-client privilege, DOJ says in sanctions motion

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Google headquarters

Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. Photo from Shutterstock.

As a way to undermine discovery, Google directs employees to add attorneys and seek legal advice in writing for “ordinary-course business communications,” according to a March 21 sanctions motion filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is suing the company for alleged antitrust violations.

Known as the Communicate With Care program, it began in 2016, according to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia filing.

“Often, knowing the game, the in-house counsel included in these Communicate With Care emails does not respond at all,” according to the motion.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters that the government has more than 4 million documents from the company, and the “teams have conscientiously worked for years” to provide responses.

The motion asks the court to sanction Google for misusing attorney-client privilege and order that all documents be released in instances in which an attorney was included in the communication but did not reply.

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