We have defeated claims against our clients with a number of creative defenses founded on the First Amendment, Innocent Construction or personal jurisdiction defenses. We have also prevailed against such defenses for our libel plaintiff clients who have pursued defamations and slander claims. We have obtained removal from the internet of commercially defamatory reviews against our business and professional services clients such as doctors and lawyers posted on internet review sites such as Google and Yelp.
You can view here a decision in an internet defamation case involving a negative review on the Rip-Off Report where we successfully defended our client by obtaining a dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction. For a detailed discussion of the personal jurisdiction defense in internet defamation cases, you can go to our website.
You can view here a Yelp review by our client of our firm regarding the result we obtained in winning her case. This client was wrongfully sued for negative Yelp and other reviews against a daycare center that had been closed down by the Department of Children and Family Services for alleged negligent care of young children.
The Digital Media Law Website is a great resource for non-lawyers to learn about defamation law. It defines defamation as follows:
Defamation is the general term for a legal claim involving injury to one’s reputation caused by a false statement of fact and includes both libel (defamation in written or fixed form) and slander (spoken defamation). The crux of a defamation claim is falsity. Truthful statements that harm another’s reputation will not create liability for defamation (although they may open you up to other forms of liability if the information you publish is of a personal or highly private nature).
Defamation in the United States is governed by state law. While the U.S. Constitution sets some limits on what states can do in the context of free speech, the specific elements of a defamation claim can — and often do — vary from state to state. Accordingly, you should consult your state’s law in the State Law: Defamation section of this guide for specific information.
There are many defenses to defamation and slander claims. Our lawyers concentrate in this area and can provide our clients — both plaintiffs and defendants — with considerable resources to guide their claims through the intricacies of these defenses. You can go to our two websites to learn more about theses defenses here and here.
Here is a video regarding a client we defended in an internet defamation claim. We settled federal court case in favor of our client after we filed a sanctions motion against the used car dealer plaintiff for filing an allegedly false lawsuit; our client received a full release and all of his videos and negative video reviews remained on the internet after we won an arbitration proceeding against the dealer which was part of the settlement of the federal court suit dismissing all of the claims. Here is a new story about the case.
You can read the Arbitrator’s decision upholding our client’s rights to keep his videos posted on the internet here. While the Arbitrator disagreed with our client’s tactics and did not endorse his conduct, he found our client had a First Amendment Right to speak his mind as long as he told the truth or simply voiced his opinions no matter how negative. The Arbitrator held as follows based on our cross-examination of the Claimant’s owner proving that our client had told the truth when he claimed that the Claimant auto dealership had engaged in consumer fraud in the past and that our client had only made minor errors in his hundreds of postings and video reviews on Youtube of the auto dealership:
There is no issue that Claimant has engaged in false advertising. [It’s owner] has admitted as much and more, including submitting a false affidavit in litigation antecedent to this arbitration. Judgments and pleadings are public records; disseminating this information that is part of a public record is not actionable. In addition, the fact of entry of judgment provides a colorable foundation for the opinions and conclusions published by Bates. As much as the Claimants would like to explain away these events, and as minor a part this conduct has played in comparison with the totality of business operations, the facts are what they are; once in the public domain these facts can be both circulated and commented on. In addition, insignificant errorata is not actionable in any event, and it is conceded that many postings are of this character.