Google Search Results Anger California Accountant; Suit Filed

Have you "Googled" yourself? You might be surprised by what you find attached to your name. A California accountant was so dismayed by what he called "alarming, false, misleading and injurious results," he sued Google, AOL, Time Warner and Yahoo! last week claiming libel.

Mark Maughan, a certified public accountant with the firm of Brown & Maughan, was told by friends in March 2003 that he should be concerned with what came up when his name was typed into a Google search.

"Specifically, the search results falsely represent that plaintiffs Maughan and/or Brown & Maughan have been disciplined for gross negligence, for failing to timely submit a client's claim for refund of overpayment of taxes, and for practicing as a CPA without a permit," according to the proposed class action filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and reported by the Associated Press.

A representative for Mountain View-based Google Technology did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, the AP reported. Google is feeling the heat, with Yahoo! dropping it as its default search engine last month.

When Maughan contacted Google about his concerns, he was told the California State Board of Accountancy was responsible for the information that came up on the search engine.

The suit claims that Google’s PageRank system "reformats information obtained from accurate sources, resulting in changing of the context in which information is presented."

The suit seeks a court order to bar Google from using PageRank as well as monetary damages, the AP reported.

You may like these other stories...

Event Date: May 29, 2014 In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA brings you up to speed on the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both...
No field likes its buzzwords more than technology, and one of today's leading terms is "the cloud." But it's not just a matter of knowing what's fashionable. Accounting professionals who know how to use...
There is a growing trend of accountants moving away from traditional compliance work to more advisory work. Client demand is there, but it is up to the accountants to capitalize on that. What should accountants' roles be...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.