Woman Slapped with $750K Lawsuit Over Negative Yelp Review

December 8th, 2012 at 5:06 am

A home contractor sued a woman for $750,000 over defamation charges. The court has also ordered the defendant, Jane Perez, to alter a negative review about Dietz Development she posted on Yelp and Angie’s List after police found that her claims did not add up.

Perez accused Dietz of shoddy workmanship and jewelry theft. Even though investigators concluded that no such stealing happened, the review remained visible on both websites. Dietz claimed that Perez’s scathing review has cost them new customers.

Reactions regarding the issue have been divided. Yelp and legal experts are worried that lawsuits that are intended to silence and censor critics could kill free speech, while business owners say such legal intervention is necessary in this age when bloggers and online reviewers are being looked up like journalists, even though they are not required to practice journalistic ethics. A negative review, even from an anonymous source, could bring a company to a bad light.

Yelp reviewers did not take the issue lightly, as they have been posting one-star reviews on Dietz in reaction to the lawsuit. The company has been trying to delete such reviews–they subscribed to Yelp’s premium service, a $60-a-month subscription to police reviews coming their way.

Source: The Verge, via TechCrunch


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