Google ordered to pay private individual $245 million for ‘moral damage’

The American giant is accused of having hosted a video damaging the reputation of lawyer Ulrich Richter Morales. Google has already been the subject of several other such complaints in other countries.

Google has been ordered in Mexico to pay nearly $245 million for “moral damage” to an individual, the American search engine giant said on Friday, announcing its intention to appeal. Google was sentenced on June 13 to pay five billion pesos in favor of lawyer Ulrich Richter Morales, his wife and their joint company, the American firm said.

Google is accused of “having supposedly tolerated and allowed the dissemination of a blog” damaging the lawyer’s reputation. “Once again we regret the condemnation on appeal” from a civil court in Mexico City “which we consider arbitrary, excessive and unfounded”, adds Google, which assures that it “will defend itself until the last resort because this judgment undermines freedom of expression and other fundamental principles”. The case could now go all the way to the Supreme Court.

The plaintiff accuses Google of having allowed the dissemination of a blog implicating him in alleged offenses of money laundering, influence peddling and falsification of documents. “I am speechless. Thank you”, commented this Friday on Twitter the lawyer, author of several books on citizenship, one of which is entitled: “Digital citizen. Fake news and post-truth in the era of Internet”. Morales Richter claims to have asked Google for the removal of the blog since 2015. He then filed a complaint for “moral damage” and had already won at first instance.

Google has already faced many other such complaints in other countries. The Australian federal court ordered the Internet giant to pay more than 466,000 euros in early June to an Australian politician who believed he had been defamed in videos of a comedian hosted on YouTube, owned by Google.

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