Lawyer Who Sues Yelp Admits He Had No Idea About Section 230 Safe Harbors

from the great-moments-in-lawyering dept

Last week, we wrote about a defamation lawsuit over a review on Yelp, which seemed to backfire -- bringing a lot more attention to the negative review than if left alone. That case actually was settled soon after, but yet another defamation lawsuit has been filed by yet another person -- this time a dentist -- over a negative review. There are a few things worth commenting on about this lawsuit, but the big one that caught my attention is that the lawsuit was filed both against the couple who wrote the review... and against Yelp.

Now, as pretty much everyone knows around here, filing against Yelp is a big no-no. Yelp is clearly protected by section 230 safe harbors that make third party service providers immune from liability for actions of their users. This is pretty widely known among anyone involved in anything having to do with internet law... but was not known by the lawyer who filed the suit. In fact, the lawyer admits in the article above that he "wasn't aware" of the law and will probably drop the suit against Yelp now that he knows about it. But, it certainly raises questions about the lawyer if he was totally unaware of a key piece of internet legislation before filing such a lawsuit.

Then, there's the bizarre response from the dentist, replying to the point that Yelp lets the service providers directly contact those who write negative reviews to try to clear up the problem. The dentist says: "I would be very upset and would not know what to say to them." Fascinating. So, rather than talking it out as adults and clearing up any misunderstanding (and from the sound of it, it was a basic misunderstanding), she jumps straight to the lawsuit stage? She doesn't know what to say to them, but has no problem dumping a lawsuit on them. Isn't America great?

Filed Under: liability, section 230
Companies: yelp

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    legal90210 (profile), 17 Jan 2012 @ 12:47pm


    We have a medical Business that we listed on Yelp. On two occasions two individuals in 2010 and one in 2011 posted fake, defamatory and slanderous on YELP. We contacted Yelp for an entire year and it took them that long to finally take down the comment and delete our account.
    We were unable to delete our account because we got an E-mail from YELP that our account had opened few other accounts and hence we had to be removed!

    Now we have another posting that a person left naming the patient in front of him breaking the HIPP privacy rights of the patient. I have personally written a 100 letters to YELP to remove this comment and to delete our account yet one more time, ( our new marketing person was unaware our previous problem with yelp and had opened an account), NO RESPONSE from Yelp.
    Yes yelp may be protected by the 230 safe harbor law but guess what the climate is changing and Yelp is now participating by encouraging the negative comments by removing the positive one and leaving defaming, slandering and fake posting on hence depending on a judge and court they can be found responsible as well in the eyes of LAW!
    Who is YELP to keep negative postings of hard working doctors and dentist because some IDIOT didn't like the services or didn't want to pay hence decides to leave nasty comments to ruin reputation of these harding working people?
    SHAME ON YOU YELP, I HOPE YOU get bought over by some other company and FAIL because YELP is a HORRIBLE site with the MOST HORRIFIC costumer services who just wants to Rip you off!
    HOW IS THAT FOR A REVIEW YELP???????????????

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.