Bad Idea: Threatening Public Citizen's Paul Levy For Asking You About Your Bogus Defamation Lawsuit

from the just-saying dept

Paul Levy (disclaimer: has represented us in the past) over at Public Citizen has a blog post up concerning yet another questionable lawsuit from a company, in this case, ToyoMotors, against some people who wrote negative reviews on Yelp. These kinds of questionable lawsuits are all too common. As Levy notes, the main target of the lawsuit, Jennifer Choi, made statements that didn't appear all that different from complaints from other consumer about ToyoMotors, and some of the statements that ToyoMotors claims are defamatory clearly would fall into protected statements of hyperbole. But all of that is kind of meaningless because of the major flaw in the lawsuit: the comments were made in 2009. The lawsuit was filed in 2013. The statute of limitations on defamation in Arizona is one year from publication. Do the math.

Even more ridiculous, is that when Paul Levy called up ToyoMotors' lawyer, Robert Lewis, Lewis responded to Levy in a manner I would suggest is unwise.
I tried to ask ToyoMotors’ counsel, Robert Lewis, about the apparent flaws in his complaint, but when I got him on the telephone he started exclaiming loudly about how he might sue me for defamation (assuming that I might make false statements) or extortion (if my statements were accurate), and threatening to file a bar complaint against me (apparently, for unauthorized practice of law in Arizona). When I followed up with specific emailed questions, he was unwilling to explain why he has any sound basis for proceeding against Choi.
In general, this is probably not the best way to respond to a lawyer calling you up to ask some basic questions about a lawsuit you've filed. More specifically, it seems exceptionally preposterous to do that to Paul Levy, recently described in a glowing profile as "the web bully's worst enemy." Either way, Levy is looking for some lawyers in Arizona who might be interested in helping to defend Choi against ToyoMotors' questionable lawsuit.
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Filed Under: jennifer choi, paul levy, robert lewis
Companies: toyomotors, yelp


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  1. identicon
    Richard B., 1 Jul 2014 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    Excerpt from original article- Demand Force,” a digital marketing operation that elicits positive feedback from customers to spray around the Internet. A look at ToyoMotors' page on DemandForce reveals a feel-good version of Yelp, featuring a slew of positive reviews, the sort of web page we would see more often if the recent European Court of Justice decision, allowing people to purge the web of unfavorable information they would like to be forgotten, were to take hold in the United States.

    Shame on you Paul Levy for making statements about a company without proper knowledge and research. Demandforce does not elicit positive feedback, it simply provides an easy to use platform for reviews no matter the nature. Demandforce adheres strictly to guidelines for reviews as set forth by Google. They actually verify that the client exists and they verify service date with company. They will not delete a negative review unless it breaks google terms of use.

    Yelp on the other hand tends to promote negative reviews. Look at the name, Yelp is a what a dog does when it wants attention, or it is has been kicked, maybe its tail is stepped on etc. Even their original logo was that of a dog with it's tail laying across the ground. Yelp will remove a positive reviews of a company where the reviewer has many friends and tons of reviews, while at the same time a person with a single negative review, no "yelp" friends or profile picture will stick like glue.

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