California business owner alleges Yelp has ‘monopoly’ on Google search results

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – A Santa Clarita, California law firm owner alleges he has lost sales and business of Yelp’s alleged monopoly on online search results.

Jaron Brignac filed a complaint on Nov. 19 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against Yelp Inc. and Does 1-10 over alleged violation of the Sherman Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff owns BPCS Law and alleges the defendant’s “monopoly” on Google search results caused him to “lose out in an enormous amount of sales and business.”

“Defendant Yelp created a monopoly in the (search engine optimization) market and a monopoly on Google’s first page ranking,” the suit states. “Indeed, whenever a consumer Googles the keyword ‘eviction attorney’ or ‘landlord tenant attorney,’ Yelp appears not only on the first page of Google for the keyword search, but also ranks three consecutive times on that same first page, which pushes other competing businesses such as plaintiff’s business down in rank or to the second page for a certain keyword, which results in the online user to engage Yelp for business.” 

The plaintiff holds Yelp Inc. responsible because the defendant allegedly acquired a monopoly in the SEO market, forcing business owners to engage it for advertising or follow its algorithm.

The plaintiff seeks judgment for compensatory, consequential, special and punitive damages; all statutory damages; prejudgment interest; costs; attorney’s fees; and such other relief that the court may deem just and proper. He is representing himself.

The defendant filed to remove the suit to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Dec. 28, 2018.

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Angeles County Superior Court case number 18CHCV0010

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