Conservative’s Lawsuit Over Google Deindexing Fails–DJ Lincoln v. Google

This is yet another #MAGA lawsuit. The plaintiff claimed that Google deindexed conservatives in a biased way. This particular plaintiff chose perhaps the least likely path to advance that claim, emphasizing RICO claims. As we all know, it’s never civil RICO, so this lawsuit had all of the signature elements of a mockably doomed lawsuit. We have arrived at the inevitable destination.

RICO. The plaintiff claimed Google coordinated its deindexing crusade against conservatives with some of its outside vendors. The court says:

Plaintiff alleges in a conclusory manner that the outside entities shared Defendant’s common purpose to misrepresent its corporate philosophy and business model, to induce Plaintiff to modify its website and business practices, and to discriminate against political conservatives and their businesses. Plaintiff has failed to identify any specific actions taken by any particular outside entity. Moreover, the outside entities’ conduct that is alleged at a high level of generality—providing information about how to improve website search results—is innocuous conduct that does not itself demonstrate a fraudulent purpose. Even if the outside entities are distinct from Defendant and could form a RICO enterprise with Defendant, Plaintiff has not plausibly alleged that the outside entities were part of the enterprise because the allegations do not support an inference that the outside entities shared the purported enterprise’s common purpose

Fraud. There wasn’t any affirmative misrepresentation:

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant engaged in fraud by inducing Plaintiff to make costly modifications to its website to improve search results, when such modifications would not in fact improve the website’s search results…At minimum, Plaintiff has not identified the precise statements that Defendant made to Plaintiff or the dates on which the statements were made.

There also weren’t any actionable omissions, even though the plaintiff claimed that Google had fiduciary duties towards it:

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to disclose that it is biased against political conservatives and that, due to that bias, Defendant would ensure that no modifications Plaintiff could make to its website would improve search results…Plaintiff in no way distinguishes the parties’ interactions from any other instance in which Defendant may advise any other person or entity about website improvements.

Finally, the court hoists the plaintiff on its own petard, saying that if everyone in the MAGA community always knew Google was biased against conservatives, what’s left to disclose?

according to Plaintiff’s own allegations, it was publicly knowable at least by 2017 that Defendant is biased against political conservatives and downgrades the search results for businesses owned by political conservatives. Plaintiff has provided no legal authority to show that Florida law would impose a duty to disclose such publicly knowable information.

That’s judicial-speak for f-off.

Next stop: presumably the 11th Circuit.

Case citation: DJ Lincoln Enterprises, Inc. v. Google LLC, 2021 WL 3079855 (S.D. Fla. July 21, 2021). Prior ruling: DJ Lincoln Enterprises, Inc. v. Google, LLC, 2021 WL 184527 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 19, 2021). The complaint. The Court Listener page. The plaintiff’s legal team initially included Steven Biss.