US District Court Judge Edward Davila.
Photo by Jason Doiy

A federal judge has denied Google Inc.’s attempt to knock out an Arkansas lawyer’s long-running lawsuit claiming he was overcharged for internet ads placed via the company’s AdWords program.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila on Thursday issued a seven-page decision denying Google’s motion for summary judgment, which was filed nearly two-and-a-half years ago.

Rick Woods, who originally sued Google in 2011, claimed Google failed to apply its “Smart Pricing” discount to three ad clicks that he paid for via AdWords and that the company gave a smaller discount than promised on an additional 660 ad clicks placed on low value web pages. Woods also claimed Google displayed the ads to visitors who were outside the geographical area that he targeted.

Google’s lawyers at Mayer Brown argued on summary judgment that the three ads Woods argued should have been covered by Smart Pricing were displayed on smartphones and tablets, and that mobile ads were specifically excluded from Smart Pricing when Woods bought the ads.

But Davila found Woods had raised a triable fact issue since he claimed he had created his ads as “text ads,” which were distinct from “mobile ads” in Google parlance at the time. Davila also allowed Woods’ location targeting claims to survive.

“A reasonable jury could conclude that Woods saw and relied on Google’s statement that ads would be targeted to users in a specific geographic area; that Google in fact charged for clicks on Woods’s ads outside of the designated geographic areas; and that Woods was charged for these clicks,” the judge wrote.

Davila, however, did grant summary judgment to Google on Woods’ breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims, finding they were duplicative of his breach of contract claims and “superfluous.” He also knocked out claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law, finding that Woods couldn’t show he relied on any Google statements about Smart Pricing to justify those claims.

Woods’ lawyer, Matthew Mustokoff of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mayer Brown’s Edward “Ward” Johnson directed a call for comment to Google. A company representative declined to comment.