By deciding not to hear the case, the Supremes leave in place a September 2015 ruling by the San Francisco-based ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals that the litigation could move forward as a class action representing advertisers who used the service between 2004 and 2008.
The 2008 lawsuit said that Google violated California fair advertising laws because it misled advertisers about where the ads would be placed. The Adwords service places next to relevant Google Internet search results. However, the plaintiffs said Google should have warned them that ads would also appear in undesirable places such as error pages and undeveloped websites known as parked domains.
A federal district court judge in 2012 ruled that the case could not move forward as a class action because each advertiser would receive different damages, as each advertiser would have paid a different sum for the ads in question. The appeals court reversed the district court, prompting Google to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.