Google Says Epic Games Claim That They Deleted Evidence Is “Meritless”

Google parent Alphabet denied claims in an antitrust case in California federal court that the company had deleted employees’ electronic “chats” to deprive plaintiffs of evidence in their case alleging anticompetitive conduct within the Google Play Store.

Lawyers for Google at law firms Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and at Munger, Tolles & Olson in a court filing said the company had taken appropriate steps “to preserve and produce” evidence of employees’ internal chats. The company called the plaintiffs’ bid for sanctions “meritless” and asked US District Judge James Donato in San Francisco to reject the bid.

Read more: Epic Games & Match To Bring New Antitrust Allegations Against Google

Donato is presiding over a series of related cases brought since 2020 by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games Inc, consumers and dozens of US states challenging alleged exclusionary practices in how Google runs its app store. Google has denied the claims.

Judges are regularly called on to referee pretrial fights over evidence, and parties can ask courts to impose sanctions on one side for not following rules.

Google has produced information including contracts, emails, transactional data and other records as part of the litigation.

Last month, the plaintiffs’ lawyers leading cases against Google jointly askedDonato to punish Google for the alleged destruction of “substantive” chat-related information relevant to the pending antitrust claims.

A Google spokesperson on Friday declined to comment about the dispute over chat evidence, and lawyers for plaintiffs did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.