Yelp Defamation Update: Lobbyist, Anonymous Posters and Dual Libel

yelp defamation lawyer
It’s time for a Yelp defamation update.

Yelp Defamation Lobbyist Now On The Hill: Online Review Company Hires A Lobbyist To Plead Their Libel Case On Capitol Hill

While Yelp can serve as an effective, low-cost marketing tool for businesses, it can also be a hot-bed of defamation. Not only do business competitors post damaging reviews on nemesis’ pages, but oftentimes, disgruntled customers take their aggression out via Yelp! And truth be told, some people mess with pages just for the sport of it.

As a result of all the Yelp defamation, the site spends a lot of resources dealing with online libel cases birthed on their platform. So, what do profitable corporations do when they’re in doubt? Why, hire a lobbyist, of course!

Yelp enlisted the help of Laurent Crenshaw. He registered his lobbyist papers at the end of 2013 – and according to records, it appears he will be concentrating on patent reform and online libel issues.

What are Crenshaw’s credentials? A former legislative director for Darrell Issa, it’s a safe guess that he already has the right ties. And since California is one of the most tech-friendly states, Crenshaw is more than likely an expert on relevant issues.

Courts Rules For Plaintiff In Yelp Defamation Case; Website Must Reveal Info About Anonymous Posters

A landmark Yelp defamation case recently made news in Virginia. In short, a business owner successfully compelled the court to make Yelp hand over identifying information about 7 anonymous Yelp users whom he thinks committed an egregious act of defamation via the online review platform.

Though a lower court disagreed, Hadeed’s team was able to convince the appeals court judges that, in a defamation lawsuit against the anonymous posters, their client would be able to prove that the would-be defendants had never been Hadeed Carpet customers. Cleverly, during the hearing, lawyers for the plaintiff successfully reasoned that a single individual may be responsible for all of the online criticism since it’s not uncommon for one person to have multiple IP addresses (e.g., phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, et cetera).

Yelp was not pleased with the appeals court’s ruling. A spokesperson for the company explained:

 “We are disappointed that the Virginia Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that fails to adequately protect free speech rights on the internet, and which allows businesses to seek personal details about website users — without any evidence of wrongdoing — in efforts to silence online critics,” Yelp spokesman Vince Sollitto said in a statement. “Other states require that plaintiffs lay out actual facts before such information is allowed to be obtained, and have adopted strong protections in order to prevent online speech from being stifled by those upset with what has been said. We continue to urge Virginia to do the same.”

Yelp Defamation Lawsuits Ends In Stalemate

In another headline-making Yelp defamation case, a jury decided that a contractor and homeowner defamed each other. Jane Perez had hired Chris Dietz to do work on her house. Unpleased with his efforts, Perez left a scathing review on Dietz’s Yelp page. Long story short, Dietz sued Perez for online libel. Not being able to reach a settlement, the case went to trial. Both sides pled their cases, the jury deliberated for several hours, and in the end the 12 men and women decided that Perez defamed Dietz and vice versa. Since both were at fault, the jury also didn’t award any damages to either party. Presumably, both had to pay their respective attorneys, and that was that.

Yelp Defamation Lawyers

Has your business been disparaged on Yelp or another online review website? Has the bad press hurt your bottom line? Do you want to speak with a Yelp defamation lawyer about your options? If yes, contact Kelly Warner Law today. Our track record is impressive, and we’ve successfully handled numerous Yelp defamation cases to our clients’ satisfaction. Don’t wait. The longer you take to clean up the mess, the more financial damage it can do. Contact Kelly Warner’s libel law team now.

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