I recently blogged about a lawsuit involving a Yelp review. Now it seems like this is becoming a trend.
The latest lawsuit was brought by a pediatric dentist in Foster City, California, who took umbrage at negative online comments on the Yelp website which said the dentist gave a boy laughing gas and used fillings containing mercury.
Yelp, and other websites, are generally immune from lawsuits claiming defamatory third-party postings, because of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. section 230. That doesn’t seem to be discouraging these lawsuits against the people posting the reviews, although the California anti-SLAPP statute (Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16) and similar statutes in other states may enable people to quickly get rid of the lawsuits.
The case I mentioned in a previous blog, involving a San Francisco chiropractor, has since been settled and a semi-apology about the chiropractor is now posted on Yelp’s web site.