...yet Yelp was forced to back down from their "Favorite Review" feature, which allegedly extorted business owners into paying to get a good review at the top of the list (at the behest of persistent sales people) and resulted in a class action lawsuit. I can understand why this may not be admissible in a civil suit but it's interesting the article overlooked or missed this as pertinent background info.
|It may make businesses think twice before starting lawsuits to remove negative reviews that are essentially truthful. |
But what about those that are NOT truthful? This leaves business owners with no avenue to remove negative reviews left by competitors, etc.
Yelp has had a checkered past in this area IMO, and has blamed extortion claims on overzealous sales people going beyond corporate policies. Smacks of of ye olde "the intern did it!" defense.
Still, I think UGC site operators like many of us here at WebmasterWorld can appreciate a somewhat higher barrier to frivolous lawsuits.
Fotiman, this decision doesn't mean that a plaintiff can't win based on the truth. It just means that the approach of filing a lawsuit in the expectation that the cost of defense will cause the defendant to cave in will be less effective. This, at least, levels the playing field a little by increasing the risk of filing a bogus lawsuit.
Isn't it much easier and cheaper to create happy customers who would be excited to leave a great review on yelp than to "sue off" some bad ones legitimate or not?
If you're really focused on customers, just ask politely for them to review the service. I recently had auto work done at a no-name shop and i left a glowing review on yelp because the service and price was astounding and he asked nicely for me to review the them after he found out i used bing local which in turn pulled in the yelp review.
TLDR, if you have to sue to look good, you're doing it all wrong :)
She'll win on appeal most likely, her freedom to sue is just as strong as freedom of free speech. In other words she had a right to sue, regardless of if the reason was valid or not, and can't be penalized for doing so. If the order stands to pay the 81,000 it would be like saying you owe because you sought a judges clarification which everyone has a right to seek.
I'm no lawyer and that's not legal advice but you have to protect the right to sue just as strongly as the right to free speech and I think they swung too far the other way in this case.
|In other words she had a right to sue, regardless of if the reason was valid or not, and can't be penalized for doing so |
Some people call a lawsuit without a valid reason "abusive litigation". In my state you can be penalized for that.
According to the article it was appellate court already: Nonetheless, the appellate ruling in favor of Yelp and Ma on all claims, and on Jing for the emotional distress claim, set the stage for all three to argue that Wong owed them attorneys' fees.
Wong sued, even after 2 previous cases from 2 dentists (ha) were lost.. judge should have saved everyone their money and dismissed original case with costs.
Of course now wong is suing for libel.. i'll have to see if i can find the case and claim to see the review as it mentions mercury.. The only way i could see Wong winning is if Ma lied about the use of mercury filling when Jang didn't use mercury. Otherwise if Jang did use mercury the case will be thrown out or become REALLY expensive trying to prove the safety of mercury.. It is after all Ma's right to express her concerns over the safety of mercury - especially when there are non mercury filling based alternatives (or perhaps she wasn't explained the alternatives as she should have been..).
The ongoing ruling with mercury is "Mercury/Amalgam Fillings We do not use nor recommend mercury fillings. However, the issue over their use and safety are not clear and is still being debated. Each person has the right to decide "
hard to call making that personal decision or reviewing a dentist as negative for using mercury in poor light as libel..
but again.. i'm just going by the tiny info we have :)
Finally - this could all be fixed if "Verified" vendors could add feedback to reviews in most cases to either state something differently or offer a remedy to the situation..
not only that, but yelps tos sucks..
The only winners from all this are the lawyers, naturally.
|California's anti-SLAPP law says that a person who brings a suit that violates the law must pay the defendant's legal bills. |
The only thing wrong with this is law IMO is their lawyers don't have to share in the burden.
If a lawyer takes a case on a commission (only receives money if the plantif wins money) they should also pay a percent of a judgment if they have a anti-SLAPP judgment against them.
The law says that you can't brings a suit that violates the law, but who would know if it does violate the law better than the lawyer accepting the case? Lets be honest, if no laywer will take the case it is so much more likely that it won't end up in court, and that is the reason for the law, to reduce cases that shouldn't end up in court.
Had that case been heard in the UK it would have run to millions in costs.
Why didn't she just ask for Yelp to remove her listing. I'm sure she has the right to do that. I would think Yelp would have to comply with that request.
|But what about those that are NOT truthful? This leaves business owners with no avenue to remove negative reviews left by competitors, etc. |
Not really: she lost because of particular circumstances, and her case against the people who posted the review is still pending.
|Had that case been heard in the UK it would have run to millions in costs. |
Ah yes, but that means a mere dentist would be unlikely to take the risk of suing. In the UK you have to be RICH to sue, or defend, a libel case.
This is one of a the areas where US law is clearly better than the US (Of course there are some the other way round).
|Why didn't she just ask for Yelp to remove her listing. I'm sure she has the right to do that. I would think Yelp would have to comply with that request. |
Yelp doesn't remove business listings; it's in their FAQ.
The flip side of this issue is that protecting UGC sites is that false claims can persist despite reasonable efforts to correct or remove them. This can create reputation management issues for legitimate businesses who have been maligned by competitors or just plain wackos.
While a good site operator will check claims of bogus posts and remove those that don't appear to be legitimate, plenty of other sites do nothing or will extort hefty sums from the victims.
The dentist got what was coming to them, I am really sick and tired of these idiots that sue at the slightest hint of anything.