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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My husband and I being threaten lawsuit for negative review

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My husband and I are being threaten a lawsuit for a negative Yelp review from one of our wedding vendors. We believe what we wrote in our review to be honest account and experience of our entire experience leading up to our wedding. The vendor has threatened to sue that if we don't remove the negative review by end of day (that was a few days ago), he will have his lawyer contact us. This business already received several negative reviews (aside from our own). Our friends (after reading their business's reviews) all believe that this business is clearly has no case/basis to sue and just using the legal threats to scared us to remove our review. However, should we get an lawyer ready at this time, in case we end up getting sued?  What else can we do going forward to better protect and prepare in case we do? Thank you for your time. YL

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

You're not likely to be sued, unless your comments make false statement of fact. If you wrote an opinion/editorial of the vendor, then there is no legally actionable claim that can be made against you for defamation -- because truth is an absolute defense -- and opinion cannot be claimed as defamatory.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Socrateaser.


We have been in conspondence with 2 other 'negetive Yelp reviewers' and are considering joining forces on a countersuit. To be honest, I rather just leave everything alone (assuming we are not presented with a law suit). However, if the Vendor ends up presenting a lawsuit, is it to our best interest to 'join forces' with the other reviewers? If so, what are the pros/cons of doing so? If we (by ourselves or joining forces), by some chance, end up going to court, what kind of legal/courts fees could we be looking at?


 


Thank you.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
However, if the Vendor ends up presenting a lawsuit, is it to our best interest to 'join forces' with the other reviewers?

A: I don't see that you have an affirmative action against the vendor. So, there is no advantage to group together. However, having the other reviewers as defense witnesses would be extremely valuable to help prove the truth of your claims.

If so, what are the pros/cons of doing so?

A: Answered above.

If we (by ourselves or joining forces), by some chance, end up going to court, what kind of legal/courts fees could we be looking at?

A: There are no prevailing party attorneys fees in a defamation case. This means that both you and the vendor must bear your legal expenses -- win or lose. I would estimate that a serious defamation action (a case that claims at least $50,000 in damages), would probably cost you $25,000 to defend. But, it will also cost the vendor $25,000 to prosecute. Which is why I say you're unlikely to be sued. The vendor would really need a very compelling case to get a lawyer to take the case on contingency. Otherwise, the vendor will have to take money out of pocket to pay legal expenses, and that usually stops a lawsuit dead in its tracks (unless the vendor is a huge multinational corporation with unlimited financial resources).

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 34174
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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