Dentist Has To Pay Legal Fees For Suing Yelp & Reviewer Over Bad Review

from the anti-slapp-and-section-230 dept

We've had a number of posts lately about lawsuits over bad Yelp reviews, and it appears they're not going so well. We pointed out a doctor losing a lawsuit over bad reviews, but Eric Goldman has the latest, in which a dentist who sued has to pay $80,000 in legal fees, not just to the reviewer, but also to Yelp itself. You see, the dentist and/or his lawyer apparently didn't bother to understand that Section 230 of the CDA protects the service provider from such a suit (which doesn't say much good about the lawyer). Once the lawyer learned of Section 230 (a bit late), they dismissed Yelp from the case... but the court still awarded legal fees to Yelp's lawyers. Hopefully this helps lawyers learn that filing bogus lawsuits against service providers over the actions of their users is not a smart move.

Filed Under: defamation, legal fees
Companies: yelp


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  1. identicon
    Noah V, 5 Jul 2011 @ 11:08pm

    Dentist pays legal fees

    The pity is that not all states allow for this. In most states the dentist could file a suit, get dismissed, file an appeal, and get dismissed again.

    Then, the couple she sued would be told they "won," after they've spent their children's inheritance or refinanced their house to keep up with the dentist's spending.

    This is from
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=MB0VAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wgMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6682%2C2701449
    and
    http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2001/08/27/bus_321610.shtml :

    Message-board participants have the right under the First Amendment to voice their opinions. That freedom is troublesome for companies and their legal and public-relations staffs, which wince about the complaints and scramble to correct inaccurate information that could be posted by consumers, investors, employees or competitors.

    If a company sues, alleging simple business disparagement or perhaps defamation, its goal isn't necessarily to win, said Marshall Tanick, a First Amendment expert at Mansfield & Tanick in Minneapolis. The strategy is "to force the other person to incur huge legal expenses that will deter them and others" from making such statements, he said.

    Companies typically shy from suing customers because it creates bad publicity. Thus, much of the legal activity involves employees or former workers. "I'm seeing it happen with increasing frequency ... yet very few (cases) go all the way" to trial and verdict, Tanick said.

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